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Political Insiders Poll

March 29, 2012

What will the political ramifications be if the Supreme Court strikes down all or part of the president’s health care law?

Democrats (101 votes)

Big win for Republicans: 34%
Small win for Republicans: 31%
Neither party gains: 16%
Small win for Democrats: 11%
Big win for Democrats: 9%

Big win for Republicans


“There’s nothing like ‘It’s unconstitutional’ for a talking point.”

“I think it is devastating to the administration and to perceptions of President Obama’s leadership. It would validate concerns that he is not governing from the center.”

“If the Court strikes the entire law, it will invalidate the signature achievement of the Obama administration. It may incite a backlash among supporters, but that will not be enough to make up for the loss of the law.”

Small win for Republicans

“Most of this issue has played out long ago, particularly in the 2010 cycle. It’s a GOP talking point, not a game change.”

“The devil is really in the details—for both the Democrats and the Republicans. How far does the Court go?”

“Republicans will have won bragging rights, and that certainly counts for something.”

“Don’t kid yourself—there’s no way you can put a smiley face on a loss.”

Neither party gains

“GOP win would translate to loss for millions of Americans deprived of adequate health care. It reopens the whole raucous debate.”

“It all depends on the spin. I hope the administration does better with a do-over.”

Small win for Democrats

“It will fire up the Democratic base, but it probably won’t move the needle with independents all that much one way or the other.”

Big win for Democrats

“It will galvanize the Democratic base to run against the Republican Court and Republican Congress.”


What will the political ramifications be if the Supreme Court strikes down all or part of the president’s health care law?

Republicans (101 votes)

Big win for Republicans: 55%
Small win for Republicans: 29%
Neither party gains: 9%
Small win for Democrats: 5%
Big win for Democrats: 3%

Big win for Republicans

“Win this one and everyone will see the emperor has no clothes. But the GOP needs a positive plan on health care—this issue isn’t going away.”

“A negative Supreme Court decision undercuts the Obama’s administration’s signature legislative achievement and reinforces the GOP narrative of a president in over his head.”

“Issue would remain polarizing, but independents would have credible reason to remain opposed to this administration’s addiction to government overreach.”

“Would enflame the Left against the high court but confirm for everyone else the recklessness and lack of judgment that went into the president’s manic push for the legislation.”

“His signature legislative achievement is found unconstitutional? I’d say that’s a setback.”

Small win for Republicans

“We get to say, ‘I told you so,’ but we lose a major issue for the fall.”

“If we are smart, it will be a defeat for Democrats and we won’t take credit or dance on the grave but instead will have an immediate alternative—if we are smart.”

“It will reinforce the public’s already negative view of Obama’s signature initiative, but don’t dismiss his willingness to try and seize the issue anew and reframe it.”

Neither party gains

“Helps both parties energize their base. Does not move indie voters who are preoccupied with jobs and job security.”

“Republicans will have proven their point, but the president can start campaigning on the issue all over again: There is still a demand for health care reform among the voters.”

Small win for Democrats

“It removes a millstone from their necks. Lots of Democrats secretly rooting for the Court to solve this problem for them.”


How well can Mitt Romney use the health care law to attack the president

Democrats (101 votes)

Very effectively: 1%
Effectively: 5%
Ineffectively: 48%
Very ineffectively: 47%


“Obama just has to repeatedly show the picture of Teddy standing over Mitt at the Massachusetts signing ceremony.”

“There is an entire library of killer video of Romney on his support for the individual mandate that will be in ads in every swing state.”

“Hard for Romney to argue that state mandates are fine but federal mandates are not. More doublespeak from a flip-flopping phony.”

“He practically wrote the darn thing!”

“Since 90 percent of the Republican attack is based on the mandate, not a lot of daylight for Romney.”

“The message is too muddled. But I think the health care law will be a big liability for Obama even without Romney raising it.”

“Based on current polls, the GOP can score points on this issue, but Romney is a fundamentally flawed messenger. We’ll break out the Etch A Sketch every time ‘Obamacare’ crosses his lips.”

Very ineffectively

“In the most literal case, he’d be attacking his own record. But the Etch A Sketch candidate has done that and worse.”

“Not even Mitt can flip this flop.”

“The harder he tries, the worse he looks. Check off the box and move on.”

“It would be like Dick Cheney running against Obama and charging that he was reckless in getting us into war. Can’t be done—Santorum’s right about that. (And only that.)”

“Mitt’s now the godfather of the Health Care Reform Act. It will disappear as an issue because by talking too much about it, Mitt Romney only reinforces the fact that he has no core.”


How well can Mitt Romney use the health care law to attack the president

Republicans (100 votes)

Very effectively: 13%
Effectively: 48%
Ineffectively: 37%
Very ineffectively: 2%

Very effectively

“Mitt can credibly say he is one of only a few Republicans to try to fix health care insurance problem, and that at least his solution, while imperfect, was constitutional, whereas the solution offered by the former constitutional law professor was not.”


“Look, voters care about health care. A lot. And Romney can at least argue he cares about it, too.”

“If he’s careful, what was done in Massachusetts makes the point—states should have the right to pursue these customized solutions; Obamacare takes that right away.”

“He can do it; whether he will is another matter. He has not yet got the message right.”

“Romney’s health care plan becomes a positive for Romney as he campaigns to win swing voters, because he can credibly explain he supports health care reform but not one that bankrupts the country as the president’s will.”


“Romney’s been finding his chops on health care recently, but most voters won’t quickly grasp all the nuanced differences between Romney’s health reform and Obama’s.”

“There are differences between the president’s plan and Romney’s, but they are minor. There are real differences between the two men in other areas.”

“It will not hurt Romney, but he is disabled in pressing this issue.”

“Even by the most forgivable standards, Mitt doesn’t have a PowerPoint to explain his MassCare fiasco. Ted Kennedy’s having a laugh somewhere.”

Very ineffectively

“Him pretending the law in Massachusetts is so very different than Obamacare is just fiction and plays into him being inauthentic.”


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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