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Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama? Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama?

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Magazine / Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll: Could Gingrich Beat Obama?

December 1, 2011

Other than the economy and jobs, which issue will be the most important in the 2012 election cycle?

Democrats (113 votes)

Deficit and taxes: 68%
Education: 1%
Energy/environment: 3%
Health care: 14%
Immigration: 3%
National security/foreign policy: 4%
Other: 8%

Deficit and taxes


“The congressional debate is so dominated by deficit and taxes that this debate will have a major influence in every campaign for federal office.”

“The deficit and the unavoidable need to increase governmental revenues to reduce it will be front and center out of necessity.”

“Independent voters see the economy and fiscal responsibility as totally interconnected.”

“Obama should find a way to embrace Simpson-Bowles and take the middle ground away from the Republicans.”

“Not sure which side wins this debate, but Democrats are in their best position in a long time (forever) to compete on it.”

Health care

“Health care is a weakness for Obama and will certainly be used against him by the Republican presidential candidate.”

“The Supreme Court will be deciding the issue by June, right in the middle of the campaign.”

National security/foreign policy

“There’s too much smoke—Iran, Pakistan, the Middle East, even the [European Union]—for there not to be fire in the next 11 months. It’s a much more fundamental test of presidential leadership than a tiresome debate about taxes and the budget.”

“Given the volatility of today’s world, it could be Obama’s strength or greatest vulnerability.”


“American exceptionalism. The very concept of what makes America special—that goes to the core of the American Dream—is being challenged as the result of globalization, economic inequality, and political paralysis. This will be the issue into which the economy, jobs, etc. are wrapped.”

“Trust. Voters are cynical of institutions and politicians and will reward candidates they trust, but disagree with, over those they agree with on policy but do not trust.”


Other than the economy and jobs, which issue will be the most important in the 2012 election cycle?

Republicans (105 votes)

Deficit and taxes: 78%
Education: 0%
Energy/environment:  3%
Health care: 8%
Immigration: 3%
National security/foreign policy: 3%
Other: 6%

Deficit and taxes

“The ‘red-ink issue’ will loom large in 2012, given our credit rating problems and the eurozone crisis, and the impact of both on voters’ anxiety.”

“Each party thinks it has a decisive political advantage on deficit and taxes. This guarantees it will play prominently in the election.”

“We as a country need realism on the deficit, which includes very significant budget cuts but also a willingness to consider tax increases and the willingness not to procrastinate until the next election.”


“Obama’s punting on [the Keystone oil pipeline] will become a major issue. It runs against his argument that he’s focused on job creation, and it runs contrary to his notion that Congress is standing in the way of job creation. It’s about energy—but it’s really about jobs.”

Health care

“The president’s health care law is the great substantive uniter of the Republican majority coalition.”


“[Mitt] Romney is playing with Electoral College fire by using immigration to take down Newt [Gingrich]. Hard to find a winning map that does not include Nevada or Colorado.”

National security/foreign policy

“Iran and the Middle East are going to be the crises that drive more attention than we care to think about right now.”


“Anti-Washington populism. Get Washington’s hands off the economy’s throat so we can create jobs and growth.”

“Fairness. Voters want to believe that what is done is fair, and this applies to each and every issue highlighted.”


Who has a better chance of beating President Obama in 2012—Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?

Democrats (110 votes)

Newt Gingrich: 14%
Mitt Romney: 86%


“He can keep the ‘red-meat’ rhetoric going for the base while also showing competence and success from the Clinton-Gingrich years.”

“Romney seems like he is the most formidable on paper and in debates, but the American people will struggle to take to him, just as the Republicans are struggling to take to him.”

“I think the Obama folks are fixated on Romney and thus far have underestimated the restlessness in the country for fixing things. Gingrich will either quickly implode or be a difficult candidate for them to wrap their arms around.”


“He almost beat a liberal icon in a blue state and went on to win the governor’s race. He is a very strong general-election candidate.”

“Mitt Romney is better positioned to speak to independent voters, including key voting blocs like swing unmarried women.”

“Gingrich is more glib, but Romney is more polished. While Gingrich may have appeal, Romney is a savvy and experienced candidate—essential qualities to match up against an incumbent president.”

“Romney is the safe choice if the campaign is about capitalizing on the weak economy. If the economy turns around, and Obama’s popularity rebounds, then an unconventional thinker like Gingrich might be their only chance.”

“Not even a close call. Newt won’t get independents and moderates.”

“Romney is a lot easier sell than a washed-up former speaker from the 1990s who is still looking for someone to appreciate how smart he is.”

“Newt can’t take the scrutiny, and he has the personality of an angry badger.”

“Romney has a glass jaw, but Newt is a mobile WMD, just ready to explode at a moment’s notice.”

“Shhhhhhhhhh—don’t tell them! They seem hell-bent on finding anybody but Mitt. Grandpa Newt and all his quirks and quacks would be just fine, thank you.”


Who has a better chance of beating President Obama in 2012—Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney?

Republicans (102 votes)

Newt Gingrich: 17%
Mitt Romney: 83%


“If Newt can remain disciplined and cheerful, not boastful and shrill.”

“After three decades in the public eye, Gingrich is the more familiar and (dare I say it) trusted of the two. An amazing turn, after the vilification he endured in the mid-’90s.”

“The president’s money will dwarf ours. So our candidate must frame his message more clearly and forcefully. That’s Newt’s strength and Romney’s weakness.”

“An insurgency campaign may be the trick next year.”


“Romney is more acceptable to moderate voters, especially female voters. Newt will have a very tough time reaching those voters.”

“Romney’s shape-shifting might not be appealing for conservatives in the primary, but he’s the only candidate that can win in November.”

“He is a safe choice and will not be seen as a radical. However, that ‘safety’ will likely cost him the nomination, because he isn’t willing to take stands on key issues.”

“Mitt Romney will be hard to hate in the general for the same reason he is hard to love in a primary: There isn’t much ‘there’ there, so the spotlight will gravitate to Obama. Romney makes it a referendum on Obama; Gingrich makes it a choice.”

“Winning the presidency is all about discipline, focus, and organization, none of which are strong suits for Gingrich.”

“With Newt, we go to bed every night thinking that tomorrow might be the day he implodes. Not good for our confidence—or fundraising.”

“Gingrich is not stable enough emotionally to be the nominee—let alone, the president.”

“Bigfoot dressed as a circus clown would have a better chance of beating President Obama than Newt Gingrich, a similarly farcical character.”

“Come on, the White House is probably giving money to Gingrich as we speak.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Larry Grisolano, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Jim Manley, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Michael Monroe, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, Ryan Rudominer, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Brian Baker, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Alex Castellanos, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Jonathan Collegio, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Jay Cranford, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Jim Innocenzi, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, Steven Law, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Kevin O’Neill, Connie Partoyan, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, David Tamasi, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, Fred Wszolek, and Matthew Zablud.

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