Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Insiders Steady on Romney

My anonymous source in Washington has again sent me the newest version of the National Journal's 2008 Republican Insiders Poll. This time, they asked over 100 Republican insiders -- Congressmen and other political types -- to rank potential candidates' chances of winning their party's presidential nomination. I commented on the April '05 and December '05 editions of the insiders poll, where our now lame-duck Governor, Mitt Romney ranked fifth and third respectively. This time, held steady at third, behind Senators John McCain and George Allen, who switched places since December. Here are the top ten on the Republican side, according to those inside the Beltway, from the poll (PDF):

RankCandidate% First Place Votes
1.John McCain61%
2.George Allen19%
3.Mitt Romney10%
4.Rudy Giuliani4%
5.Bill Frist1%
6.Newt Gingrich0%
7.Condoleezza Rice0%
8.Mike Huckabee1%
9.Haley Barbour1%
10.George Pataki1%
Mitt managed to get 10 first-place votes this time around (all from "political insiders" and none from "congressional insiders) where he only got four in December. Here's what some of the insiders had to say about our Governor:
"Private businessman who got Massachusetts, of all places, to do health care vouchers. The jury's still out on the religion question."

"It's an advantage to be running from outside the Beltway in an anti-Washington year."

"Mitt has everything it takes -- ideas, charisma, polish. But can someone who won over voters of the most liberal state also win over conservatives? Seems unlikely."
As far as real people go, Romney is also getting beat by Senator McCain (and 'Undecided' for that matter) according to state primary polls put out by American Research Group, (via Political Intelligence). Notably, Romney does better in Utah than he does in Massachusetts.

Fellow potential 2008 candidate John Kerry did better with the insiders this time around, going from eighth in December to sixth now. He managed to get at least one first-place vote. Here's what one insider had to say about Senator Kerry:
"Has shown remarkable resilience. Now the hard part: convincing Democrats to overcome their collective fascination with inexperienced 'fresh-face' candidates."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) once again towers over the rest of the Democratic field, with former governor Mark Warner and former Senator John Edwards coming in distant second and third.