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Clinton, Romney Lead Among Insiders

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Clinton, Romney Lead Among Insiders

By: Mark Z. Barabak

Los Angeles Times


Saturday, Mar 03, 2007


"Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Mitt Romney have emerged as the leading presidential favorites among party insiders, according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll, which found deep partisan divisions over the country's direction and top issues in the 2008 campaign."



"The poll surveyed members of the Democratic and Republican national committees, the governing bodies of the two major political parties. Though relatively few, these insiders could have an important role in deciding which of their candidates face each other in November 2008, thanks to the influence many wield in their states.


"'The DNC and RNC members are not just delegates' to the national nominating conventions, said Charlie Cook, a nonpartisan campaign analyst in Washington. 'They are key organizers and opinion leaders. They can help build or kill a groundswell, make a candidate's challenge in a state easier or much harder. They matter a lot.'


"The poll also offers a different reading of sentiments than national voter surveys, which tend to be heavily influenced by name recognition at this early stage of the campaign."



"The Times Poll, directed by Susan Pinkus, interviewed 313 of 386 DNC members and 133 of 165 RNC members from Feb. 13-26. Since the poll attempted to interview current state members of each organization rather than a random sample, there is no margin of error."



"Among Republicans, Romney had the most backing among party insiders, with 20% support, followed by Giuliani with 14%, McCain with 10% and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia – who has said he might enter the race in the fall – with 8%."



"On the Republican side, views of the candidates were mixed. Giuliani and Romney were each viewed favorably by 83% of party leaders, and Gingrich by 78%. McCain was viewed favorably by 56% of GOP insiders and unfavorably by 38%.


"Other, lesser-known GOP candidates received generally favorable ratings, with two exceptions. Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who has sharply criticized the war, and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, an outspoken foe of the president's immigration policy, were seen more negatively than positively.


"There was little difference among Democrats and Republicans over the prospect of Americans electing an African American, Latino or woman president: Strong majorities in both parties said the country was ready.


"Republicans were more optimistic about the chance of electing a Mormon, which probably reflects good feelings for Romney. Nearly 8 in 10 GOP insiders said the country would elect a Mormon president, compared to 48% of Democrats."




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