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Political Insiders Poll

March 8, 2012

Rank the top five Senate races in order of the most likely to switch party control.

Democrats (92 votes)

Maine (Open, R): 66 (Index Score)
North Dakota (Open, D): 54 (Index Score)
Massachusetts (Incumbent R): 53 (Index Score)
Nebraska (Open, D): 38 (Index Score)
Nevada (Incumbent R): 24 (Index Score)

Other races: Missouri (22); Montana (11); Wisconsin (7); Virginia (6); Indiana (5); New Mexico (4); Hawaii (3); Ohio (2); Florida (2); Michigan (1) 


“The dual dynamic of the GOP [presidential] candidates stepping on themselves and Barack Obama, the campaigner, has changed the scenario.”

“Dem Senate prospects are on the rise. Things looked much more promising for R’s before the payroll-tax [cut] fight.”

“A funny thing happened on the way to a Republican Senate takeover: The economy improved; the Right Wing took over their presidential nominating contest; and a large, loud conservative radio talk-show
host went on a misogynist rampage that turned off whatever women might have supported conservative Republican candidates. Might not save North Dakota or Nebraska, but it makes it a lot harder for R’s to win Massachusetts, Maine, Montana, and Missouri.”

“Maine may be the difference-maker for continued Democratic control of the Senate.”

“In terms of Maine, I am counting Angus King as a switch. His candidacy makes it very tough for a Democrat to win the seat.”

“[Sen. Olympia] Snowe’s surprise announcement certainly was a game-changer for the Dems in Maine. [Massachusetts’s Sen.] Scott Brown’s not easy to beat, but Elizabeth Warren is running a good campaign.”

“GOP lock on a Senate majority has been picked in Maine and Nebraska. Anything can happen now.”

“Bob Kerrey’s entry [in Nebraska] means they need to spend, but we still lose it. Angus King screws us in Maine, but then caucuses with Dems.”

“Senators Snowe and Brown, please urge Rush Limbaugh to keep circulating those GOP talking points. Democrats and independents in the Northeast find them very helpful.”


Rank the top five Senate races in order of the most likely to switch party control.

Republicans (92 votes) 

North Dakota (Open, D): 65 (Index Score)
Nebraska (Open, D): 56 (Index Score)
Maine (Open, R): 42 (Index Score)
Montana (Incumbent, D): 30 (Index Score)
Virginia (Open, D): 28 (Index Score)

Other races: Missouri (23); Wisconsin (12); Florida (12); Massachusetts (11); Hawaii (5); New Mexico (4); Ohio (4); Nevada (4); Michigan (2); Indiana (1) 

“A return to normalcy. Republicans rebound in the Midwest, Mountain West, and South. Popularity of Gov. Susana Martinez aids [Heather] Wilson in New Mexico.”

“I’ve defended Snowe’s apostasies in the past, but she really screwed the party on this one by not letting the party prepare. She’s earnedall the recriminations coming her way.”

“The president is an anchor in North Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana, and a help in Massachusetts. Ultimately, the GOP will hold their nose and vote for George Allen, who will win swing voters in Northern Virginia and Richmond. There is no way a recycled senator like Kerrey has a prayer in Nebraska.”

“Bob Kerrey’s return to Nebraska, to quote a famous novelist, will prove that ‘You can’t go home again,’ and he can’t save the Nebraska Senate seat. After an initial surge by Warren, Scott Brown is building a solid lead in money and poll numbers. Meanwhile, [Missouri’s] Claire McCaskill is acting like she is auditioning for a Cabinet post in a second Obama term.”

“Unless Jim DeMint screws us yet again in Nebraska, that is a pick-up. And, people will be surprised how well Heather Wilson and Josh Mandel run in New Mexico and Ohio.”

“New Mexico’s Senate contest is the sleeper race of the cycle. Heather Wilson is a proven vote-getter and fundraiser, and is relatively centrist compared to her likely opponent.”

“The tide rolled in during 2006 for [Montana’s] Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill, and the president can’t do much to save them in 2012.”


How would you grade the Obama administration’s handling of Iran in recent months?

Democrats (92 votes)

Average grade: B+

A: 45%
B: 50%
C: 4%
D: 0%
F: 0%

 A. “The lack of stature of the desperate Republican presidential candidates strengthens public support for the president’s handling of several issues, including handling Iran.”

A. “Obama has America’s back. He has killed bin Laden, most of the top terrorist leader network, gotten rid of Qadaffi, and ended the war in Iraq. The American people trust him on this issue.”

A-. “Too much saber rattling would be a serious mistake. Obama really does not bluff.”

A-. “The president’s steady hand, his reading of the mood of the American public, and his AIPAC speech set the right tone and policy while everyone else runs around hysterically.”

A-. “He should have taken on the Republican presidential candidates sooner. Their irresponsible ranting was doing some damage to the administration’s consistent and solid policy on Iran.”

B+ “Obama’s policy isn’t perfect, but what would be? The GOP effort to politicize the issue is truly despicable and also bad politics. We should welcome a debate about the huge costs of cowboy diplomacy.”

B. “Obama seems like the responsible adult. Republicans sound like warmongers.”

B. “The president has been tough enough on Iran, but he needs to be tougher on Russia and China.”

B. “Israel has not bombed Iran, but Iran has not slowed down the development of their nuclear capability. The president deserves kudos for keeping Israel restrained. But the ultimate challenge is to restrain Iran, and they don’t seem to have figured that part out yet.”

B-. “Execution [has been] better than the perception.”

C. “Talk is cheap. The idea of action is terrifying.”


How would you grade the Obama administration’s handling of Iran in recent months?

Republicans (89 votes) 

Average grade: C-

A: 2%
B: 19%
C: 49%
D: 23%
F: 7%

B. “Americans don’t want a war, and there is no war yet.”

B- “After a terrible start, the Obama administration’s Iranian policy is at least on a solid footing. Tough sanctions, solid support for Israel, and a clear military option on the table.”

C+. “He is certainly moving in the right direction in regards to Iran. The one place he needs to solve to take the national-security issue off the table for Republicans.”

C+ “Tough talk at times, but very inconsistent. Time he rallied the world together to say ‘no.’ Until that happens, we are once again soloists.”

C. “Nothing has changed, no forward movement other than minor Iranian concessions that can be reversed at the drop of a hat.”

C-. “Iran requires sustained policy and a firm strategy; it’s not a SEAL Team 6 job, like the killing of bin Laden. Obama is in way over his head.”

C-. “Here’s the political point: President Obama is turning off moderate American Jews by pressuring Israel. That will hurt him in November.”

C-. “Publicly telling Israel to stand down takes significant leverage off the table.”

D+. “ ‘Engagement’ with Iran and Syria, incoherence in policy, infidelity to Israel—all adding up to a perilous way forward.”

D. “How do you grade what doesn’t exist? From an apology tour to a boast of not bluffing? I’m not sure what the strategy is other than pray it doesn’t disintegrate before November.”

F. “He’s been playing patty-cake with these terrorists, and it’s catching up to him. The only folks he’s fooling are the liberals in his base.”


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, Steve McMahon, 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, Jefrey Pollock, 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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