What does Washington’s political elite really think? Over the past two weeks, we surveyed 74 Beltway insiders—37 Democrats, 37 Republicans—on the election, the state of politics, and what comes next. We wanted honesty, so we offered to keep their answers anonymous (in some cases, they allowed us to quote them). Among the respondents: Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and Obama adman Jim Margolis; Kerry right-hand Bob Shrum and McCain consigliere Mark Salter; former senators Bob Bennett (R-Utah) and Tom Daschle (D-N.D.). On Capitol Hill we found a lot of strong opinions—and even, occasionally, a little consensus.
Participants include: Jack Abramoff, Bob Bennett, Matt Bennett, James Carter IV, Reid Cherlin, Dan Conston, Jon Cowan, Tom Daschle, Fred Davis, Brad Dayspring, Tad Devine, Byron Dorgan, Derek Dorn, Eric Fehrnstrom, Adam Frankel, Tony Fratto, Juleanna Glover, Paul Goodwin, Trey Grayson, Anthony Green, Bruce Haynes, Jim Jordan, Ted Kaufman, Jim Kessler, Chris LaCivita, Rick Lazio, Chris Lehane, Stu Loeser, Matt Mackowiak, Fred Malek, Jim Margolis, Joe Miller, Julian Mulvey, Billy Piper, Ari Rabin-Havt, Scott W. Reed, Jon Reinish, Ed Rendell, Andrew Roth, Mark Salter, Bob Shrum, Erik Smith, Roger Stone, Scott Talbot, Neera Tanden, Joe Trippi, Doug Thornell, John Weaver, Brian Wolff.
Photographs: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (Romney); Michael Buckner/WireImage (Obama waving); Win McNamee/Getty Images (Romney head) ; Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images (Obama head) ; boxing gloves Alexis Blas, from The Noun Project; Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Hollywood Reporter (Axelrod); William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images (Plouffe); Patrick McMullan (Messina, Clinton, David Koch); Michael Buckner/WireImage (Michelle Obama); Daniel J. Groshong/Bloomberg via Getty Images (Adelson); Doug Pensinger/Getty Images (Stevens); Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images (Portman, Rhoades); Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (Fehrnstrom); Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images (Charles Koch); Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images (Rove); Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images (Bush); Alfredo Rocha/WireImage; Chris Fitzgerald/CandidatePhotos/Newscom; Larry Marano/WireImage; Saeef Khan/AFP/GettyImages; Mark Wilson/Getty Images.