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Congressional Insiders Poll

Do you think that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint will help or hurt your party politically?

Democrats (25 votes)

Help a lot: 64%
Help a little: 32%
No impact: 0%
Hurt a little: 0%
Hurt a lot: 0%
Other (volunteered): 4%


Help a lot

“It underscores our differences on issues people understand and agree with Democrats on. We should send Paul a thank-you note.”

“Ryan is a naive but true believer who is certain in his beliefs, notwithstanding their utter Darwinian nature.”


“Eliminating Medicare and Social Security so millionaires don’t have to pay more in taxes isn’t very popular.”

“Much focus will be on Medicare, but equally compelling is the fact, given the tax treatment of the wealthy, [his plan] is totally unserious about balancing the budget.”

“His budget is out of touch with the American people.”

Help a little


“It’s profoundly disturbing that such an extreme proposal that recklessly reduces domestic spending on the most vulnerable populations in this country, as well as being devoid of any implementable solutions to reduce the deficit and eliminate
the national debt, is the product of a compromise between rival factions of the Republican Party.”

“Ryan deserves credit for earnestly trying to tackle the challenge. His approach is way off, though. This year’s proposal didn’t seem to get the same traction as last year’s, but it still fuels the messaging fire.”


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“I honestly don’t know.”


Do you think that Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint will help or hurt your party politically?

Republicans (24 votes) 

Help a lot: 42%
Help a little: 46%
No impact: 8%
Hurt a little: 0%
Hurt a lot: 0%
Other (volunteered): 4%

Help a lot

“It will reinforce that it was the Republicans who were serious about spending cuts, especially when people need to be reminded in September, when Congress will have to vote on raising the debt ceiling once again.”

“Elections are about leadership and contrasts. Obama and the Democrats won’t lead. Ryan and House Republicans will. That will be what voters remember in November.”

“The benefits of a contrast help with our base and fiscal independents.”

“It will show how our party has meaningful solutions to solve our nation’s problems, especially financial ones.”

“It is the responsible thing to do. We cannot keep ignoring the deficits and pretending they will magically disappear. This budget is not as conservative as the [Republican Study Committee’s] budget. It is a sensible plan forward.”

“Senate Democrats haven’t put anything forward and rejected President Obama’s last budget, 97-0. If you can’t put together a budget, you can’t lead.”

Help a little

“It shows that the GOP is serious about making tough choices.”

“It would help a lot more if the media treated it as the political breakthrough that it is. It is time for the Democrats to put their ideas on the table as well.”

“To compare it to a poker game, we might only have a couple aces, but the president has nothing and the Senate has folded.”

No impact

“Good policy for GOP base, but budget-balancing so many decades out undermines the fiscal-responsibility message.”


“Only time will tell, but this is as much a tax-reform plan as it is a budget. We still don’t have enough details about entitlement reform to make a strong public case for these kinds of cuts.”


In light of the difficulty moving a transportation bill through Congress, should the ban on earmarks be reconsidered?

Democrats (25 votes)

Yes: 56%
No: 40%
Other (volunteered): 4%


“I never thought all the power should be given to the executive branch, but it won’t happen for a while due to lack of political courage.”

“It is a silly ban that transfers power to the executive branch.”

“Congressionally directed spending is essential for the system to work in these highly partisan times.”

“The legislative branch needs to act like one by serving the needs of the districts, including local projects of merit.”

“It’s the earmarks, stupid!”


“Not sure if that’s the real problem here.”

This article appears in the March 24, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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