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Magazine / POLITICAL INSIDERS POLL

Political Insiders Poll

September 24, 2010

Q: Rank the top two arguments for the Democrats in the congressional midterm elections.

Democrats (102 votes)

                                  First        Second 
                                  choice       choice
Republicans want to dismantle 
 government programs such as 
 Social Security and Medicare     41 percent   20 percent

e>
Republicans favor tax cuts for 
 the wealthy at the expense of 
 the middle class                 32 percent   28 percent

 
e>
Republicans will return to the 
 failed policies of the Bush
 administration                   17 percent   31 percent

e>
Republicans have nominated 
 too many tea party candidates 
 who are out of the mainstream     5 percent   17 percent

e>

Also receiving votes: None, 2 percent; all, 1 percent; GOP supports tax breaks that ship jobs overseas, 1 percent; Democrats have tamed Wall Street, 1 percent.

GOP will dismantle Social Security and Medicare

"Social Security and Medicare are two tangible issues that would let Democrats cut through the unrealistic tea party rhetoric advocating tax cuts without any pain."

"Our only hope is to expose their extremism as scarier than what we offer."

"While the Republicans tea party, the Democrats are your final guard against dismantling Social Security and Medicare: If they can say their stuff with a straight face, why can't we?"

"I wish we had more to run on than these two tired warhorses, but they're probably our best themes."

"Senior citizens vote all the time."

GOP favors tax cuts for the wealthy

"The division between the parties on the tax issue is the best shot that Democrats have to motivate the base and reach undecided voters."

"Using pocketbook issues like tax bailouts and breaks for billionaires is the best way to counter voter worries about the economy."

"Give the electorate some credit for recognizing fundamental unfairness."

"Polls extremely well with Dems and independents."

GOP will return to failed Bush policies

"It's fine to periodically reference Bush, but the focus needs to be on the policies. If it sounds like it's simply Bush-bashing, it won't work."

"There is still mileage in 'Blame the economy on Bush.' "

Too many GOP tea party candidates

"There are now enough states where the tea party has nominated an extreme candidate that D's can actually succeed in making them the face of the opposition."

Q: Rank the top two arguments for the Democrats in the congressional midterm elections.

Republicans (91 votes)

                                  First        Second 
                                  choice       choice
Republicans want to dismantle 
 government programs such as 
 Social Security and Medicare     40 percent   19 percent

e>
Republicans favor tax cuts for 
 the wealthy at the expense of 
 the middle class                 24 percent   28 percent

e>
Republicans will return to the 
 failed policies of the Bush 
 administration                   21 percent   32 percent

e>
Republicans have nominated 
 too many tea party candidates 
 who are out of the mainstream    14 percent   20 percent

e>

Also receiving votes: None, 1 percent.

GOP will dismantle Social Security and Medicare

"Democrats are out of bullets. Their only hope is to scare the daylights out of the elderly."

"Democrats need to energize their base and make them feel threatened with proven themes from the past."

"Another fading issue, but there's still some life left in the Social Security-Medicare scare arguments."

"Our hands aren't so clean with this."

GOP favors tax cuts for the wealthy

"Waving the bloody shirt on Social Security will get only a yawn from people who think they'll go broke before they get old."

"Opposition to tax cuts for the very wealthy still carries some political potential because of the continued 'obscene' compensation packages for some high executives, particularly when they are fired."

"Class warfare is attractive to too many voters."

GOP will return to failed Bush policies

"The meltdown on his watch is still the best Democrat argument."

"Blame-it-on-Bush is the only thing they have left. O and Pelosi are truly running on fumes."

"Blaming Bush doesn't work any more, but it's the best way to frame the election as a choice rather than a referendum."

Too many GOP tea party candidates

"Democrats will try to paint GOP nominees as witchcraft-dabbling, wild-eyed loons."

Q: Rank the top two arguments for the Republicans in the congressional midterm elections.

Democrats (99 votes)

                                First        Second 
                                choice       choice
Under Democrats, government 
 spending and debt have gotten 
 out of control                 49 percent   27 percent

e>
Under Democratic leadership, 
 the economy has gotten 
 worse and not better           31 percent   34 percent

e>
Republicans will provide 
 a needed check to the 
 Obama-Pelosi agenda            18 percent   32 percent

e>
Republicans will repeal 
 health care reform              0 percent    6 percent

e>

Also receiving votes: Everything is wrong, 1 percent.

Spending and debt are out of control

"D's have been spending like crazy and it has kept civil servants in jobs; but few new jobs have been created."

"Spending and debt always resonate with voters."

"The public believes it to be true, so why not drive it home?"

Economy has gotten worse, not better

"It's the economy, stupid, for independent voters, and the GOP would be crazy to talk about anything else, like mosques and immigrants."

"Not true, but voters believe it!"

"Democrats are in charge, and they will pay the price for today's conditions. Make them pay before the tables turn in 2012."

Need a check to Obama-Pelosi

"The 'check' on Democrats is a powerful argument for swing voters who generally think that divided government is a sensible place to go in 2010. Republicans simply have to be a palatable alternative."

"Obama-Pelosi is almost enough to disqualify a Democrat in many districts."

Repeal health care reform

"Health care is a good punching bag for Republicans."

Q: Rank the top two arguments for the Republicans in the congressional midterm elections.

Republicans (91 votes)

                                First        Second 
                                choice       choice
Under Democrats, government 
 spending and debt have gotten 
 out of control                 47 percent   35 percent

e>
Under Democratic leadership, 
 the economy has gotten 
 worse and not better           37 percent   33 percent

e>
Republicans will provide 
 a needed check to the 
 Obama-Pelosi agenda            12 percent   24 percent

e>
Republicans will repeal 
 health care reform              2 percent    7 percent

e>

Also receiving votes: None, 1 percent.

Spending and debt are out of control

"It's all about spending and debt -- i.e., out-of-control government."

"Finally, Republicans have the perfect storm -- the dire facts coupled with GOP principles provide a clear message for voters."

"Reckless spending is driving average Americans nuts, especially when they see their own family budget stagnant or shrinking."

Economy has gotten worse, not better

"All this government spending and no results: no jobs, no bank loans, no hope."

"It's all about jobs, and no one really believes the recession is over."

"It's the only issue that matters, so hit it hard."

Need a check to Obama-Pelosi

"Voters like checks and balances; they think divided government worked in the 1990s."

"Last fall, voters were telling Washington to slow down. Now they'll hit the brakes."

Repeal health care reform

"The most visceral issue in the cycle."

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, Stephanie Schriock, 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, Lisa Camooso Miller, 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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