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Political Insiders Poll

Q: Which party committee is doing a better job in the run-up to the midterm elections?

Republicans (93 votes)

Democratic National Committee     73 percent
Republican National Committee     15 percent
Tie/neither                       12 percent



"Plain and simple: Michael Steele has been an embarrassment and has been a distraction limiting the effectiveness of the RNC."

"Steele is an idiot. He has done real damage to the party in his mishandling of the party."


"Steele has been a huge disappointment, especially on the fund-raising front."

"In a midterm election, the national committees provide their institutional infrastructure, like data and voter contact tools for get-out-the-vote in the states. This RNC has wasted money on chairman travel that should be going to that core function."

"The RNC reminds me of the movie Night of the Living Dead."

"They have discipline and cash -- must be nice. Steele is a turkey, but strong winds might yet make him fly."


"Tim Kaine is always on message; Michael Steele rotates which foot is in the mouth."

"The RNC is pretty much a joke this cycle. Everyone knows American Crossroads is the de facto RNC and doing a damn good job at that."

"Republicans will be successful this year in spite of a horrible committee chairman."


"The committee hasn't done much, but the DNC is in full meltdown mode."

"While Michael Steele has taken heat for some public comments, he has put together a strong team at the RNC."


"Probably neither one, given the state of the Democratic Party. But asking about the RNC is not a fair question!" ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Democratic Senatorial 
 Campaign Committee              13 percent
National Republican 
  Senatorial Committee           85 percent
Tie/neither                       2 percent



"Top-notch aggressive staff [is] spreading the playing field and not overextending."

"Better recruiting, better messaging, and equally effective fund-raising."

"[Sen. John] Cornyn is doing a great job, but consistently gets undercut by [Sen. Jim] DeMint."

"NRSC kept hope alive during a time of darkness. Cornyn did an excellent job starting two years ago -- his early candidate recruitment successes were all we had."

"Valid criticism of their primary record, but they have been relentlessly on offense and put the DSCC on defense."

"Only because they're being dragged kicking and screaming -- Charlie Crist, Lisa Murkowski, et cetera -- by the tea party and angry Republicans tired of elite and out-of-touch party overlords."

"NRSC is being more strategic this year than ever before. The fund-raising apparatus is excellent. Then again, it's better to be the tsunami than be in the path of it.."


"The NRSC is doing a great job of losing the strongest candidates for general elections -- a huge failing that will probably give this one to the DSCC."

"The DSCC is very good on fund-raising, while the NRSC has gotten bogged down on losing primaries." ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Democratic Congressional 
 Campaign Committee       15 percent
National Republican 
 Congressional Committee  78 percent
Tie/neither                7 percent



"Lots of quality candidates when the landscape started so desperate."

"They've targeted races effectively and benefited from the anti-Obama wave. More important, Repub House leaders have avoided every trap and not allowed their party to become the issue."

"The committee has done a tremendous job of recruiting and instead of defending incumbents is able to focus resources on open and challenger seats."

"The underrated staff and chairman, Pete Sessions, may just pull it off."

"Outplayed the DCCC with superior candidates and greater message discipline."

"They've had their best recruiting season ever."


"[Rep. Chris] Van Hollen playing a losing hand well, with better staff and better fund-raising. Sessions is the china-shop bull."

"Drew a bad hand but won three specials they should have lost. Bad atmospherics aren't the committee's fault."

"Both committees have good records on recruitment, but the DCCC is setting the pace on fund-raising."


"This is a draw. Sessions and his gang have upped their game considerably in recent months."

"The NRCC has as much to do with the big gains as the rooster has to do with the sunrise." ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Q: Which party committee is doing a better job in the run-up to the midterm elections?

Democrats (90 votes)

Democratic National Committee   78 percent
Republican National Committee   17 percent
Tie/neither                      6 percent



"The RNC is impotent because of Michael Steele. Even his own party faithful want nothing to do with him."

"While one could debate the effectiveness of Organizing for America, the RNC has been so disorganized there is almost no contest here."

"[Tim] Kaine has done a good job raising money, but the base has not been tended to and that's the committee's function in a midterm race."

"By default, only because of all of Michael Steele's gaffes and mismanagement."

"Raising money in this environment is tough. That's what makes September's take so impressive."

"Thank the lord for Steele."


"There isn't a DNC. They don't care about anything but [Organizing for America]--Obama, not the organizing."

"Dems are saying that Republicans will take us back to hell. But [given] the fact that Dems have no message, hell is looking very appealing to a lot of voters."


"They are both a joke." ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Democratic Senatorial 
 Campaign Committee    66 percent
National Republican 
 Senatorial Committee  31 percent
Tie/neither             3 percent



"The tea party kicked NRSC's butt all through the primaries."

"But it won't matter because the outside groups are blowing us away."

"The combination of high-velocity fund-raising and high-visibility independent expenditures will help the Ds hang onto the Senate."

"They have, by far, the best political operative in [Executive Director] J.B. Poersch, they are out-raising the Republican committee and limiting their participation to races that they need to win to hold the Senate. Unfortunately, they can't do anything about the environment."

"DSCC has kept a number of races in play and has caught a break or two in Republican primaries."


"They eliminated the fund-raising gap from the past couple of cycles and have generally tried to field moderate, establishment candidates who can win even if they don't get through the primaries sometimes."

"By a hair: It wouldn't be close if [Sen. John] Cornyn had kept out the kooks. As for the DSCC, it is hard to ride a riptide." ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Democratic Congressional 
 Campaign Committee       58 percent
National Republican 
 Congressional Committee  40 percent
Tie/neither                2 percent



"The fact that a lot of races are still in play is a function of steering resources and focusing on opposition research."

"Has been fighting back throughout a turbulent August while keeping cash in the bank for the critical final push."

"[Rep. Chris] Van Hollen has done everything possible to create a firewall, especially holding retirements to a minimum."

"Despite Speaker Pelosi's lack of popularity in tough districts, DCCC is producing the funding, opposition research, and political savvy to help a significant number of these threatened Democrats survive."


"A simple national message, as opposed to the soupiness on our side."

"Solid fund-raising and politically smart candidate recruiting under Congressman Kevin McCarthy's direction."

"DCCC is dealing with difficult decisions about triage and which seats can be saved, while NRCC is expanding the battleground. This is a mirror image of 2008, where Obama was expanding the battleground while McCain was defending states that should have been safe for him." ___________________________________________________________________________________________

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, 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, 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, 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.

This article appears in the October 9, 2010 edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.

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