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Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

Click here to see how prominent bloggers responded to these questions.

Q: What's the most likely outcome this year of President Obama's health care reform initiative?

Democrats (42 votes)

Major legislation will be enacted        36 percent
Scaled-back legislation will be enacted  60 percent
Nothing will be enacted                   5 percent


Major legislation

"To come this far and not deliver for the American people would be a huge mistake."


"I'm still confident we'll get to watch the president sign a bill this year."

"Inaction is the worst option. And 'scaling back' quickly gets complicated, given the interdependence of the bill's elements."

"Democrats will address concerns raised by anxious citizens, then move forward."

"Major, scaled-down legislation will be enacted that will accomplish Democrats' three main goals: cover many more people; provide security and stability to those who have coverage; and bring down costs for individuals and the government."


"The House passes the Senate-passed bill and then hammers out with the Senate a narrowly drawn reconciliation bill that tempers several provisions of the Senate bill."

Scaled-back legislation

"We must do something that ordinary people will support and understand!"

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"Democrats will eventually compromise to give working families a health care bill they deserve, even as Republicans continue to kick back in their La-Z-Boy chairs enjoying taxpayer-funded health care."

"The opportunity was squandered while the president insisted on enlisting the Party of No."

"Scaled-back legislation will be enacted as long as it contains adequate safeguards against federal funds being used for abortion coverage."

"Democrats are in a Catch-22 position. If nothing is passed, Republicans will harp that we couldn't enact one of our major initiatives. If we pass something, the criticism will be that we didn't focus on jobs."

"There has to be something to show for the past year, or moderates are in a lose-lose situation that will lead to losing."

"It would be suicidal [for Democrats] to do nothing. How did 1993-94 work out for us?"

Q: What's the most likely outcome this year of President Obama's health care reform initiative?

Republicans (37 votes)

Major legislation will be enacted         0 percent
Scaled-back legislation will be enacted  57 percent
Nothing will be enacted                  43 percent


Scaled-back legislation

"Democrats still believe that doing something unpopular is better than doing nothing at all. They will somehow find a way to pass a bill they do not like themselves, even if still continues to infuriate a majority of the country."

"The Democrats will pass something, because they must. But they will not reach out to Republicans, who are happy to see this debate go on as long as possible."

"They have to have something to show for the White House's signature issue. House and Senate Democrats have already gone on record with a vote, so for it to be all for nothing would be crippling."

"The Democrats have convinced themselves that if they don't get something, their base will not turn out in November. Unfortunately for them, they will just continue to incite the majority of Americans. They're in a bad box."

"Scaled-back legislation will be enacted, though it will be scaled back to the point of no real impact."

"Instead of a health care takeover, there should be health insurance reform."

"Like the five stages of grief, Democrats will experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance: America isn't buying what they are selling. If they are smart, they'll create a health care product that can sell."

"Even when you put lipstick on a pig, it's still a pig."


"If they ever had momentum, they have lost it. Their caucus is too spooked to move anything."

"Right now, it's largely everything or nothing for Democrats. Nothing is more likely than everything."

"Even a month ago, it would've been unthinkable that they wouldn't pass some sort of health care bill. The effects of their mistakes, manifested most recently in Massachusetts, are simply epic."

"Vulnerable Democrats are too scared to vote for anything with 'health care' attached to it."

Q: What's the political impact of the Supreme Court's recent campaign finance ruling?

Democrats (42 votes)

Helps Democrats a lot         0 percent
Helps Democrats a little      0 percent
Helps Republicans a little   38 percent
Helps Republicans a lot      33 percent
Not much impact              12 percent


Volunteered responses: Hurts both parties, helps business, 7 percent each; depends, 2 percent.

Helps Republicans a little

"Corporate America will spend PAC money to re-elect Democrats and corporate money to push a Republican message and make Republican candidates more competitive."

"The decision is likely to be of more value to the GOP unless a backlash develops against the notion of increasing the torrent of money that's fueling campaign spending, especially if it becomes clear that some of that money could come from foreign corporations."

"Very damaging, for reasons that go beyond any near-term partisan impact."

Helps Republicans a lot

"Corporations, would you like to buy an election? No patriotism, soul, morals, or compassion required."

"The corporate floodgates will be opened up. And they will significantly outspend Democratic interest groups."

"There's so much money in the corporate world for Republican war chests that no Democrat is safe."

"This ruling will more than compensate for the Republican committees' less-than-stellar fundraising numbers to date."

"Congress needs to pass a law. We can define 'corporate person' as an entity that can't give to campaigns."

"We don't allow corporations to vote [or] run for public office. It is absurd and wrong for a narrow 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court to decide that corporations should receive the same First Amendment protections as individual citizens. This decision will spark a populist outrage, and hopefully that will lead to reforms that blunt the impact of this ruling."

"Worst decision ever by the Court."

Hurts both parties

"I think it will really hurt both political parties because they will still be subject to limits, giving donors who want to make a significant impact on races less reason to give through the parties."

Helps business

"The chair recognizes the distinguished gentleman from Exxon for 20 minutes."

Q: What's the political impact of the Supreme Court's recent campaign finance ruling?

Republicans (37 votes)

Helps Democrats a lot         0 percent
Helps Democrats a little      0 percent
Helps Republicans a little   65 percent
Helps Republicans a lot      11 percent
Not much impact              19 percent


Volunteered responses: Huge impact, too soon to tell, 3 percent each.

Helps Republicans a little

"Unions' domination of political communication is about to end."

"At least in the short run. CEOs are the only group more frightened by public opinion than politicians, so they'll tread lightly at first. In the long run, they may figure out political engagement isn't an option: It's a matter of survival."

"Corporate America has the means but lacks the will and the courage to use its resources to truly press its advantage. Unions will be more aggressive in using this opening, but groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will give pro-business forces a slight edge in the end."

"Republicans should be cautious of being too outspoken in our support for the ruling. Endorsing millions of dollars more in special-interest money pouring into our elections is still not a positive message. Voters will still decide outcomes."

"The main result of the decision will be to weaken political parties, drown out candidates' own advertising, and clutter up the campaign airwaves. Unions were already bending the rules, so the decision will help Republicans in the short term by blunting the Democrats' massive money advantage."

"Brings some balance back to the system, but unions and private liberal money will still trump whatever Republicans might gain."

"Freedom of speech is a terrible thing to waste."

Helps Republicans a lot

"It's long past time that job creators had a voice to counteract unions on the air."

"Now business can be equal to unions."

Not much impact

"Unions spent more than $400 million last cycle. How much more can they spend?"

"Everyone benefits, so it's a wash."

Huge impact

"This totally changes the landscape."

National Journal Insiders

Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Christopher Dodd, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Michael Arcuri, Tammy Baldwin, Melissa Bean, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Marion Berry, Rick Boucher, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, Chris Carney, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Artur Davis, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Phil Hare, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Frank Kratovil, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Mike McMahon, Kendrick Meek, Jim Moran, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Schauer, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, John Spratt, Pete Stark, Bart Stupak, John Tanner, Ellen Tauscher, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, and Peter Welch.

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, Jim Bunning, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, George LeMieux, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Michael Castle, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, David Dreier, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Pete Hoekstra, Bob Inglis, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Christopher Lee, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Adam Putnam, Dave Reichert, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Peter Roskam, Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, John Shadegg, Adrian Smith, Mark Souder, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, and Joe Wilson.

This article appears in the January 30, 2010 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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