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Political Insiders Poll

Q: How important a factor will the ethics charges against Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters be in the midterm elections?

Democrats (103 votes)

Very important        14 percent
Somewhat important    49 percent
Not very important    32 percent
Not important at all   5 percent


Also receiving votes: Depends if there's a trial, 1 percent.

Very important

"This is an issue that is distinctly 'Democratic,' not 'incumbent.' It will hurt a lot."


"D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for Democrats. Voters are likely to ask, 'What ever happened to draining the swamp?' "

"Just look at the damage that ethics problems caused the GOP in 2006."

Somewhat important

"It reinforces the script that one party has too much power and too much power is corrupting."


"By adding more fuel to the anti-incumbent sentiment it distracts attention from challenger shortcomings, which is now the Democrats' best hope of retaining a House majority."

"To the extent their story lines work in the anti-Washington fervor, it will be damaging. They should step down."

"Race could end up becoming a significant issue if the leadership continues to be divided on this, and many are talking about it now. Blacks are feeling picked on -- that there is a double standard -- and others are asking if members of the Black Caucus feel entitled to a different set of standards. This is all very dicey."

"It hurts the upper hand that the Democrats had on government reform and, more important, fuels anti-incumbent sentiment that hurts Democrats."

Not very important

"Potentially corrupt member of Congress? Where, where? I doubt there's a voter out there who says, 'OK, that's it. Now I'm fed up!' "

"If the R's want to engage in an ethics war, there will be mutually assured destruction. Ultimately, neither side wants to take the casualties required to win that war."

"Ethics is rarely a real issue in campaigns unless the person running is the sinner."

"The case against Democrats is on the economy, not ethics."

Not important at ali

"There are mega-issues out there, and voters aren't going to be moved by this."

Q: How important a factor will the ethics charges against Democratic Reps. Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters be in the midterm elections?

Republicans (97 votes)

Very important        25 percent
Somewhat important    55 percent
Not very important    19 percent
Not important at all   2 percent


Very Important

"If Obama was going to change the culture of Washington, it sure feels like business as usual for his party's leadership. Let the trials begin!"

"Democrats need to be on offense, not defending the indefensible."

"Particularly if we are looking at two public trials in September."

"Pelosi is the one who said she would drain the swamp. She's about to be swallowed by alligators."

Somewhat important

"It's another reason to vote against a marginal Democrat for independents in swing-seat elections."

"Not as sexy as Mark Foley, but potent as the House Bank [scandal]."

"It reinforces the belief that the Democratic Party is out of touch."

"The last thing the Democrats need right now is a deflated base, and this deflates their base."

"D's need this mess like a giraffe needs strep throat. But the R's must learn how to take advantage."

"The Rangel and Waters scandals are no match for the damage Mark Foley did to the GOP in late September 2006, but it can't help D's get off the mat."

"The economy is still the main issue, but the Democrats came in with a lot of hope and change hype, and they haven't lived up to it."

"If it goes to trial, it adds more fuel to the anti-incumbent fire."

"More pieces of straw on the camel's back."

Not very important

"Will hurt Democrats slightly, but most voters already know what they think of Congress."

"Sound and fury in the media -- hardly a whisper in the voting booth."

"It will be difficult to get any political capital from this, as we don't have a stellar record ourselves."

Not important at all

"Remember the Roland Burris fiasco? There are real issues out there and neither Rangel or Waters is one of those."

Q: On balance, do you think the Justice Department's legal challenge to Arizona's immigration law helps or hurts your party in the midterm elections?

Democrats (103 votes)

Helps   42%
Hurts   49%


Also receiving votes: Both, 3 percent; neither, 2 percent; neutral, 2 percent; depends, 1 percent; doesn't matter, 1 percent; not a national issue, 1 percent.


"Will further cement Latinos to the Democratic Party -- those opposed would most likely not vote Democratic anyhow."

"The challenge will help draw the distinctions between the parties and provide Obama a much-needed boost to base voters. Quiet indifference is not an option when you are in a position of leadership."

"The Republicans would be nuts to go down this route -- they are getting too racial for suburban voters."

"Good policy is usually good politics. At the end of the day, this issue goes to the soul of what it means to be a Democrat."

"R's have stepped into it with the 14th Amendment fiasco."

"Obama promised immigration reform. Least he can do is to attack a profiling statute."


"It reflects that the federal government has once again failed to handle an important problem."

"Any news that highlights this case is bad for Democrats. Republicans win on wedge issues."

"Short term, it hurts. Long term, it is another nail in the Republicans' demographic coffin."

"People dislike 'lawyering up' in any form."

"Good long term for Obama in 2012; horrible for those running in 2010."

"Swings are not with us on this issue. Hispanics are frustrated by the inaction on reform. Not so good."

"They should have let them try to enforce it and gotten embarrassed."

"The Democrats need to spend August talking about the economy and jobs; instead, now we have a month of talking about immigration."

Q: On balance, do you think the Justice Department's legal challenge to Arizona's immigration law helps or hurts your party in the midterm elections?

Republicans (97 votes)

Helps   94%
Hurts    4%


Also receiving votes: Depends, 1 percent; not much impact, 1 percent.


"Shows how out of touch the D.C. establishment is from where Americans are."

"Helps in midterms, but GOP's harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric will alienate Hispanic voters in the 2012 presidential elections."

"A Pyrrhic legal win and a political loser [for Democrats] that just makes it even more difficult to reach a long-term compromise on immigration."

"The DOJ lawsuit helps Republicans in the midterms, but it no doubt is hurtful long term. The longer Republicans stand behind a plan of 'border security first,' the further we move away from Hispanics."

"How many ways can the Big O devise to enrage independents?"

"Lawyers, from D.C., suing voters, on behalf of illegal immigrants -- you can't write this stuff [any better]."

"The problem is what it means in the future. If Hispanics lock in for Democrats in the same percentages as African-Americans have done, Republicans could become the Whigs at the national level in the next decade."

"It's perceived as a commonsense approach by a majority of the voters most likely to show up at the polls in competitive districts."

"The Democrats have put themselves on the wrong side of the one part of the immigration issue -- enforcement -- that is not divisive."

"Fighting for the status quo on immigration is bad for Democrats."

"What Democrat in their right mind wants to debate illegal immigration in the last 90 days before November?"

"Washington can't get the job done, yet they're suing the states [that are] trying."

"Helps in the election; hurts if the GOP gets a chance to govern, because they have no coherent, compassionate way of dealing with the issue."

National Journal Insiders

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, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Stephanie Cutter, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Eric Eve, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Don Fowler, 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, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Kam Kuwata, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bill Lynch, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Terry McAuliffe, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O'Donnell, Scott Parven, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Bruce Reed, Mame Reiley, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Sarah Swisher, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, Bridgette Williams, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, 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, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Charlie Crist, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, 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, Barry Jackson, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bruce Keough, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris Lacivita, Jim Lake, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, 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, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, 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, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

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