Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Political Insiders Poll Political Insiders Poll

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Magazine / Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

October 27, 2011

Rank the top five candidates, 1 through 5, in terms of who you think is most likely to capture the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Republicans (105 votes)

Candidate and Rank: Mitt Romney / 1
Index Score: 98

Candidate and Rank: Rick Perry / 2
Index Score: 72


Candidate and Rank: Herman Cain / 3
Index Score: 47

Candidate and Rank: Newt Gingrich / 4
Index Score: 31

Candidate and Rank: Rick Santorum / 5
Index Score: 13

Candidate and Rank: Jon Huntsman / 6
Index Score: 11

Candidate and Rank: Michele Bachmann / 7
Index Score: 7

Candidate and Rank: Ron Paul / 8
Index Score: 5

Mitt Romney

“Through none of his own doing, [Romney] has become the heir apparent.”

“Romney’s not conservative enough for me, but not sure anyone else is capable or can beat him.”

“Mitt Romney looks more and more like the last man standing by failing to self-immolate.”

“The inability of Republicans to find any Romney alternative around whom they can coalesce for more than two weeks will leave the field fighting for fractions, with Romney at 25 to 30 percent and still the clear plurality winner.”

“Romney is first by a significant margin and getting stronger. The debates, his organization, and his resources have put him there. And you cannot discount the fact that he has done this before.”

“Republicans are beginning to realize that this is a choice between Romney and the unelectable.”

“R’s need to remember they are not choosing a lifelong mate; rather, they are choosing someone to beat Obama in November 2012. Romney can beat Obama.”

“Mitt Romney makes 2012 about the economy, and he beats Obama. The debates have severely diminished Rick Perry, and Herman Cain would rather sell books than build a national organization.”

“The more Perry plays to a right-wing base and the more Cain looks flaky and out of his depth, the more likely Romney is to be the nominee.”

“Latest flavor-of-the-week, Cain, loses luster under the klieg lights. Romney just quietly gets it done.”

“GOP voters are starting to recognize that fighting among the candidates is good only for Obama—they don’t want that. It serves to solidify the field, especially with Perry’s self-immolation to the point where only his advisers and those already invested in him are buying what he’s selling.”

“Romney is looking stronger and stronger, while Perry fades into self-inflicted irrelevance.”

“Bottom line is, Tim Pawlenty got out too soon. There is an opening for an anti-Romney, and neither Cain nor Perry is going to fit the bill at the end of the day. Strong odds are that Mitt Romney will be the nominee.”

“There are one Romney and two anti-Romneys left.”

“This has been a two-man race between Romney and Perry for a month and will continue that way till the end.”

“Romney and Perry are the only two viable candidates, due to superior resources, organization, and staying power.”

“It’s Romney’s [to lose], but expect an unsuccessful surge from a reorganized Perry.”

Rick Perry

“You can’t count him out because of the cash.”

“As long as Perry can fund his super PAC, he is viable no matter what the polling says today.”

“[Steve] Forbes’s endorsement, better debate performance, and $17 million will get Perry back in the mix.”

“Perry is the only movement conservative in the race, and voters are conservative.”

“Perry is finally pulling out of his nosedive; his flat-tax advocacy goes where Mitt cannot.”

“If you can’t sell the man, sell the plan. Perry is going to destroy everything in his path.”

“The race is settling in but could see movement or shake-up whenthe Perry and Romney super PACs start firing.”

“It is Romney’s to lose for all the reasons discussed for months. However, he is weak, enthusiasm is lacking, and Perry still has ample opportunity to knock Romney out.”

“Perry would be a distant second. He has a path to the nomination, but it is becoming increasingly uphill. When he looks back at his campaign, the toughest thing to handle will be that he did it to himself.”

Herman Cain

“Cain is a live possibility, unless scandal tars him.”

“Rick Perry’s monumental collapse is Herman Cain’s opportunity. Can he pull it off, though?”

“Can’t believe I am ranking him this high [third].”

Newt Gingrich

“Keep an eye on Newt. Perry and Romney may get into a negative nuclear-attack mode and destroy each other.”

“Newt’s attraction is that he’s now the only contender standing who isn’t viewed as a politician. Go figure!”

Jon Huntsman

“If Republicans are going to go for someone who could win, they might eventually wake up and decide that Huntsman is more consistent than Romney and  ideologically more to their liking.”


“Many candidates enter and exit the top tier with momentum not seen even two or three weeks before it happens. Santorum has yet to see his moment, and it’s not unlikely that he’ll catch fire at some point before December. Whether he sustains it is another story altogether.”

“Chris Christie in a ‘Draft Christie’ movement at the convention.”

“Paul Ryan would be the emergency convention choice. Remember the late Wisconsin primary.”


Methodology: In tallying the rankings, a first-place vote was worth 5 points, a second-place vote was worth 4 points, and so on. The Insiders index reflects the percentage of points that each contender received out of the maximum possible. For example, Mitt Romney scored an index rating of 98, meaning he received 98 percent of the possible 525 points, the number he would have if all 105 participants in the poll this week had ranked him first.


Behind the Rankings

Percentage of first-place votes

Romney: 90%
Perry: 8%
Gingrich: 2%

Percentage of second-place votes

Perry: 69%
Cain: 15%
Romney: 9%
Gingrich: 7%
Santorum: 1%



Who would be the Republicans’ strongest presidential nominee in 2012?

Democrats (101 votes)

Mitt Romney: 70%
Jon Huntsman: 19%
Rick Perry: 5%
Jeb Bush (volunteered): 2%
Newt Gingrich: 1%
Buddy Roemer: 1%
Colin Powell (volunteered): 1%


“Romney’s the only one to run a reasonably competent campaign. Everyone else is competing to win the Fred Thompson Award instead of the nomination.”

“At this point, the nomination is Romney’s to lose. If he can get it, he’ll be a tough opponent for Obama, even though he is a phony flip-flopper.”

“All others have either disqualified themselves already or are in the process of doing so.”

“Unfortunately for my party, this isn’t 1964 or 1972. The Republicans know they have a good chance to win, and they won’t blow it by casting Mitt aside.”

“While Romney certainly isn’t a tea party favorite at the moment, by November they will have fallen in ‘like’ with him, given that the alternative is Obama.”

“Romney keeps holding steady while the rest of the field takes turns getting hot and flaming out. A tortoise to all the other hares.”

“Best actor wins. Romney has pretended to be a conservative, and can easily feint back to the center for a general election. There is no ‘center’ for the other GOP contenders.”

“He can talk and chew gum at the same time, which puts him way ahead of the other candidates.”

“Romney is the only one who isn’t a total reality-TV choice. Although, give him a few more debates, and he may get there. His moves to the right have been ham-handed and sophomoric.”

“He’s polished, poised, and battle-tested, and he can allege some kind of economic mastery because he made tons of money at Bain Capital.”

“He’s starting to look more presidential, which should scare the White House.”

“Everyone else gets our base out in droves. If Romney can get the Republican base out, he’ll win. He’ll appeal to independents and some disillusioned Democrats.”

“Independent suburban voters are more likely to support Romney.”

“He would be the best general-election candidate, but there is a problem with some of the Republican base. He would need to make that up with independents, which he could appeal to best.”

“I think it’s Romney, but the one thing that gives me pause is that he does not excite the base. Exciting the base is critical today.”


“He won’t get nominated, but he would still be stronger than the rest of the weak field.”

“If the Republican Party had not sold out to their worst instincts, they would nominate more-mainstream candidates who would give them their best chance in the fall. They don’t do that in this tea party era.”

“He is moderate and could appeal broadly as bipartisan and commonsense—the very reasons he cannot win the primary.”

“Nominating an intelligent, reasonable candidate like Huntsman would be a strategic master stroke for the GOP. Fortunately for Democrats, the tea party would never allow that.”


“Rick Perry can consolidate his native South and start to appeal to Hispanics in the West and independents in the Philly suburbs.”

“A tough-talking conservative from Texas? Yes, we’ve seen this show before. One does not need to be smart to be president.”


Newt Gingrich—“This ‘field’ is starting to look more like the cast from Wizard of Oz. At least Gingrich has a brain.”

Jeb Bush—“More authentic than Mitt, less Texan than Rick, and more sane than Bachmann and Cain.”


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, Deb Callahan, 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, George S. LeMieux, 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, Dana Perino, 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.

Job Board
Search Jobs
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Poughkeepsie, NY
Membership Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Saint Paul, MN
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Spencer, IA
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Meridian, MS
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Bremerton, WA
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Redmond, WA
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | St. George, UT
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Fairbanks, AK
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Middletown, NY
Business Development Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Clovis, NM
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Claremont, NH
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | New Albany, IN
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | ME
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Alpena, MI
Outside Sales Representative
National Federation of Independent Businesses | Lake City, FL
comments powered by Disqus