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Political Insiders Poll: Insiders Pick States that Will Determine GOP Presidential Nominee

September 29, 2011

Rank the importance of the following four states in determining the Republican nominee for president.


RANK                        INDEX SCORE *

1. Florida: 66
2. Iowa: 65
3. New Hampshire: 63
4. South Carolina: 56


“Iowa sets the field; Florida sets the nomination.”

“First is still first. With both front-runners being so vulnerable, someone will be hurt in the Hawkeye State. New Hampshire will either correct or not, with Florida set to deliver a decisive blow.”

“Iowa usually eliminates someone; New Hampshire and South Carolina winnow; but Florida is the new ‘decider.’ ”

“Increasingly, the question in this race is coming down to this: Is there anybody who can be a credible challenger to Romney from his right? From [Donald] Trump, to [Mitch] Daniels, to [Paul] Ryan, to [Chris] Christie, to [Michele] Bachmann, to [Tim] Pawlenty, the answer has been no. Perry is probably the last option, and if Perry can’t win Florida and Iowa, I don’t see the path for him.”

“The three early states will define the top two candidates, and then there will be a one-on-one that will be a protracted battle.”

“Iowa will identify the losers. New Hampshire will make clear who the final two are. And South Carolina will pick the winner. New Hampshire will be winning the pennant and South Carolina the World Series.”

“With Bachman flagging, Iowa will become the first showdown between Romney and Perry. A convincing win by Romney will all but dry up Perry’s money and assure that New Hampshire can virtually close this contest down.”

“I also think Perry has an excellent opportunity to exceed expectations in New Hampshire like Bill Clinton did in 1992 and come out of it the story.”

“Florida is a key electoral state that is up for grabs in the GOP primary. Iowa will be largely irrelevant, and New Hampshire is a lock for Romney. South Carolina is a must-win for Perry.”

“Iowa will tell us whether Romney can, or can’t, win with evangelicals. Either way, it is a big deal.”

“Should Iowa even be included in a list of influential nominating states anymore? Will any serious candidate ever make the mistake of competing in that straw poll again?”

*Methodology: In tallying the rankings, a first-place vote was worth 4 points, a second-place vote was worth 3 points, and so on. The index score reflects the percentage of points that each state received out of the maximum possible. For example, Florida scored an index rating of 80 among Republicans, meaning it received 80 percent of the possible 448 points.

Rank the importance of the following four states in determining the Republican nominee for president.


RANK                        INDEX SCORE *

1. Florida: 80
2. New Hampshire: 66
3. South Carolina:59
4. Iowa: 45

“The Florida winner will be nominated. Romney gets to Florida through New Hampshire, Perry through either South Carolina or Iowa.”

“Any campaign can drum up enough resources to play somewhat in smaller states, but it takes a real budget to play in Florida and nationally. This is where Romney, Perry, and Huntsman will or will not demonstrate their national ability—and all the others will be forced to watch from the sidelines because they don’t have the money to play.”

“Anything less than a Romney blowout in N.H. is a big problem for him. Florida is the state where they have to campaign like they would in the general because it is so big and diverse.”

“South Carolina could be the booster rocket for Perry or any other conservative challenging Romney’s steady ascendancy. But Florida will be the decisive test of endurance. Iowa and New Hampshire still matter, but early debates and other preseason events are stealing their limelight.”

“The Iowa caucuses are going the way of the Iowa straw poll—decreasingly relevant to the ultimate outcome.”

“This could be the cycle where Iowa loses its right to early determination. The straw poll is useless, and the caucuses are an oversampling of the conservative wing of the party.”

“For those who doubt the importance of Iowa, imagine if Romney won it as he nearly did four years ago.”

“New Hampshire is first base, and just like putting a move on your girlfriend, if you can’t get to first base, you will never score the nomination.”

“This nomination will go to a long-distance runner. Florida is where the process begins, not ends.”

*Methodology: In tallying the rankings, a first-place vote was worth 4 points, a second-place vote was worth 3 points, and so on. The index score reflects the percentage of points that each state received out of the maximum possible. For example, Florida scored an index rating of 80 among Republicans, meaning it received 80 percent of the possible 448 points.


Who is most responsible for Americans’ record-low opinions of Congress?


Congressional Democrats: 0%
Congressional Republicans: 68%
President Obama:2%
All about equally: 30%

Congressional Republicans

“Three years of getting nothing done has been their explicit strategy. It has brought the nation to the brink of economic collapse, on purpose.”

“Republicans have refused to work with Democrats or President Obama—their clear goal, as stated by Sen. McConnell, is to defeat Obama at all costs.”

“My opinion doesn’t matter. Dozens of national polls show that, by big margins, actual voters blame congressional Republicans for the mess we’re in.”

“When you announce up-front that your top priority is making Obama a ‘one-term president,’ don’t expect to get much accomplished on behalf of the American people, and don’t expect to get a lot of respect.”

“All-out and unrelenting opposition is causing gridlock, and that leads to universal anger at Washington. Voters, with little help from the media, can’t discern who’s at fault, so ultimately the president bears the brunt of the anger. It’s the GOP’s plan, and it’s working.”

“The perception is growing that these folks will sacrifice anything and anyone for political gain. Sprinkle in nuts. Voila.”

President Obama

“As a Democrat, I’ve never been more embarrassed by the leadership or lack thereof by this president. His attitude toward Congress and the blame game is akin to an elementary-school playground fight.”

All about equally

“Having sat through dozens of focus groups in dozens of states the last few weeks, I can say that voters are casting a pox equally on all officials and both parties. What is especially depressing is the sense that our governing institutions—from both the quality of leadership and structural perspectives—are not capable of addressing the challenges the country faces.”

“The congressional Democrats and Republicans are too ideological, and the president has taken too long to use his bully pulpit. Nobody is handling the ongoing economic crisis we’re in very effectively.”


Who is most responsible for Americans’ record-low opinions of Congress?


Congressional Democrats: 14%
Congressional Republicans: 3%
President Obama: 16%
All about equally: 68%

Congressional Democrats

“They could choose to take the deficit seriously, but they have chosen to subvert the nation’s future welfare for a smaller cause: satisfying their lust for punishing ‘billionaires’ who make $200,000 a year.”

Congressional Republicans

“Tea party has caused chaos, with no accountability.”

President Obama

“The House was elected to fight for spending reductions, and they are doing what they campaigned saying they would do. Obama, on the other hand, campaigned as someone above partisanship, and he’s done nothing to fulfill that promise.”

All about equally

“Voters are mad at everyone. The differences in poll numbers are barely visible to the naked eye. They hate everybody, and everybody suffers.”

“The Senate Democrats don’t even try to pass anything, while the House passes stuff they know doesn’t have a chance in the upper chamber, while the president bashes everyone.”

“The inmates have frequently sought to run the asylum. The difference is, now they are treated as celebrities and fundraising powerhouses as a result of their intransigence.”

“The low opinion of Congress is because of high-volume arguments over big problems. But arguments are essential to solving the problems. Low opinion or not, let the cacophony continue.”

“Americans asked their government to increase spending dramatically, enact massive tax cuts, and balance the budget. Then they’re upset it doesn’t listen. A schizophrenic public has the government it deserves.”


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.

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