Earlier today National Journal released its latest poll of the opinions of Beltway insiders. According to the National Journal news story about the new poll, entitled "Insiders: GOP Would Be Better Off With Romney for 2012," many GOP insiders think Romney is a much better candidate than Rick Perry. What National Journal failed to inform its readers is that at least 30 of the 141 GOP operatives polled -- nearly 25 percent of the GOP sample -- currently work for Romney or worked for his 2008 presidential campaign. Only one insider was readily identified in a Google search as being a member of Team Perry.
According to National Journal, many of those insiders "questioned [Rick Perry's] ability to win over independent voters." But what did those Beltway insiders think of Romney? "Insiders identified Romney's business background, his veteran campaign team, and his appeal to moderate voters as key general election strengths." It should come as no surprise that those who have been on Romney's payroll (or made the payroll possible) are supportive of his campaign. And it should come as no surprise that Romney's veteran campaign staffers think they are awesome, even though they lost in 2008.
Insiders polled by National Journal include current Romney campaign pollster Neil Newhouse, as well as three current high-dollar fundraisers: Wayne Berman, David Tamasi, and Eric Rosenblatt -- all lobbyists. The 26 other Romney insiders polled by National Journal, including spokesman Kevin Madden, political director Carl Forti, and deputy campaign manager Jason Roe, all held high-ranking positions during Romney's 2008 presidential run.
Are these individuals at fault for likely supporting someone who hired them? Absolutely not (disclosure: there is no proof that these individuals told National Journal that they thought Romney was a better candidate than Perry, but it is not at all a stretch to assume that the past or current affiliations of these 30 individuals might be a factor in their answers, significantly skewing the overall results, especially when only one obvious Perry supporter is included on National Journal's list).
The real fault lies with National Journal for failing to disclose any of the 30 potential conflicts-of-interest to its readers. Why would it refuse to be transparent about the biases or underlying motivations of its polled insiders? It's pretty simple: National Journal and its Beltway-centric competitors thrive on access to current establishment insiders. It is no secret that many publications provide puff pieces and helpful story lines in exchange for access to plugged-in sources.
The real news in this latest poll is not that powerful Republicans think Romney is the best candidate, but that Romney appears to be the best hope Beltway lobbyists and has-been Hill leadership staffers have of retaining their easy access to the halls of power in Washington.
The full list of easily identifiable past and present Romney partisans included in the insiders poll can be found below.
|Al Cardenas||Chairman - National Hispanic Steering Committee||2008|
|Alex Castellanos||Media Strategist||2008|
|Debi Durham||Surrogate - Iowa||2008|
|Mindy Finn||Chief Online Strategist||2008|
|Carl Forti||Political Director/Deputy Campaign Manager||2008|
|Alex Gage||Data Cruncher||2008|
|Bruce A. Gates||Fundraiser||2008|
|Benjamin Ginsberg||National Counsel||2008|
|Doug Gross||Campaign Chairman - Iowa||2008|
|Kevin Madden||Campaign Spokesman||2008|
|Jim Merrill||State Director - New Hampshire||2008|
|David Norcross||Campaign Co-Chairman - New Jersey||2008|
|Van B. Poole||Fundraiser - Florida Finance Committee||2008|
|Tom Rath||Senior National Adviser||2008|
|Jason Roe||Deputy Campaign Manager||2008|
|Russ Schriefer||Media Strategist||2008|
|Terry Sullivan||Adviser - South Carolina||2008|
|Warren Tompkins||Adviser - South Carolina||2008|
|Jan van Lohuizen||Pollster||2008|