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Topping Insiders' Priority Lists: Immigration, Jobs, and Deficit Reduction

What two issues should be the top priorities for your party this year?


Deficit reduction: 21%
Energy: 7%
Guns: 14%
Immigration: 64%
Jobs: 66%
Tax reform: 21%


Deficit reduction

“Deficits imperil the economy and could destroy the safety net; and Washington could actually fix the problem.”



“Our constituencies want action on climate change. Now is the time.”


“Now that Obama has made guns a signature issue, he has to be able to claim victory on his priorities.”



“This will be the best year to do comprehensive immigration reform for years to come.”

“Democrats must lock in the image with the fast-growing Hispanic communities, as we have done for decades with African-Americans, that they can be at ‘home’ with our party.”

“Gotta get immigration done, at least to thank the Latinos who gave Obama his margin.”


“Jobs solve so many problems! Everyone wants a balanced budget, but they would prefer to be employed!”

“If the unemployment rate continues to hover around 8 percent, the midterm elections will be difficult for Democrats. Jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Tax reform

“Create jobs and have everyone pay a fair share, and most of the other problems—except guns, which will never be solved—will go away.”



What two issues should be the top priorities for your party this year?


Deficit reduction: 54%
Energy: 7%
Guns: 3%
Immigration: 50%
Jobs: 57%
Tax reform: 24%

Deficit reduction

“Prevent Obama from spending us into economic oblivion.”

“Controlling the ‘size and scope of government’ is key to the base, and immigration is key to party growth.”


“Access to affordable energy leads to job creation.”


“We’ve got to stop standing in the way of gun reform—it makes us look crazy.”


“Do Republicans really want immigration used against them again in ’14, ’16, and beyond? Do comprehensive now, and give a future candidate a chance to be heard by more than 47 percent of the electorate.”

“Settle the issue, start the healing.”


“Since when did 7.8 percent unemployment become the new normal?”

“Jobs would indicate we actually were awake.”

“The country is growing too slowly to fix any other problem.”

Tax reform

“Make Democrats defend the absurd current revenue code.”



If the sequester is allowed to go into effect, will it hurt either party politically?

DEMOCRATS (107 votes)

Hurt Democrats: 1%
Hurt Republicans: 50%
Hurt neither: 14%
Hurt both equally: 35%

Hurt Republicans

“Like it or not, they’re the face of the fiscal cliff and will own the sequester.”

“They are already in a box, and if we have more dysfunction or shutdowns, they will get most of the blame.”

“I think the Republicans in Congress have tried to play too cute with the fiscal crisis and come across to the public as intransigents rather than problem-solvers.”

“Both parties will be hurt, but Republicans have virtually no capital to burn (unlike Democrats, who don’t have much ... but at least have Obama).”

“The GOP is seen as the Party of NO. There is now a perception with voters that when the wheels fall off the government cart, it’s probably because of Republican intransigence.”

“National polls indicate that Americans are more likely to blame Republicans than Democrats for the ongoing budget crisis. And they’re right.”

“Every time the government fails to act these days, the voters blame the GOP. Rightfully so.”

Hurt neither

“Cuts are cuts, and we need cuts.”

“Both parties will figure out a way to minimize its adverse impact. It’s Congress; it is what they do best: Protect their own interests rather than the country’s.”

Hurt both equally

“Bad for everyone. Another bad idea coming back to haunt Congress.”

“Yet another failure of government.”

This article appears in the February 9, 2013 edition of National Journal Magazine as Political Insiders Poll.

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