…Governor Romney is doing pretty well, according to the Los Angeles Times:
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 survey showed former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina in second place among Democratic Party leaders, ahead of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. It pointed up danger signs for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who trailed former Massachusetts Gov. Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, the leader among Republicans in national voter surveys.
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.
A similar poll of DNC members about four years ago found significant backing for Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts as well as surprising support for Edwards and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean — at a time when the latter two made comparatively weak showings in voter surveys. The three ended up as the top contenders for the Democratic nomination, won by Kerry.
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.