09/01/2011 06:37 pm ET Updated Nov 01, 2011

Late Returns: Mitt Romney Still Loved By 'Insiders'

Cursory examinations of "the polls" lead us to conclude that Rick Perry is very popular, at the moment, with "the people who participate in polls." Which is good news for Rick Perry! But bad news for Mitt Romney, who used to be popular with "the people who participate in polls," and now has to ride out what he hopes will be a temporary Perry boomlet. Fortunately for Mitt, he's still very popular with one group of people: the National Journal's poll of "insiders." Per Benjy Sarlin:

The poll, which regularly checks in with a pool of Republican and Democratic strategists, finds both parties in agreement that Romney is the superior candidate. Republicans think the GOP would be better off nominating him by a 69% to 31% margin. That number is even higher among Democratic insiders, 83% of whom see Romney as the better bet versus 17% for Perry.

Unnamed insiders from both parties cited questions about Perry's ability to win over independents given his resume as a hardline conservative, red-state governor. "Perry can fire up the base, but this election will be won in the middle, not on the fringes," one Republican said.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is going to try to reach out to the Tea Party for some reason? Did no one tell him that "insiders" love him? Actually, the real question is, "Did no one tell the 'insiders' that the GOP nomination might, in fact, be won on the fringes?


Things are getting hectic in New Hampshire! It looks for all the world that Michele Bachmann is essentially conceding the state. Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman -- who should maybe think about conceding New Hampshire, along with many, many other states, is changing New Hampshire campaign managers. That will almost definitely "move the needle." Also, Rick Santorum is moving into Tim Pawlenty's old office in Bedford. I'm surprised that I care enough to know this. [Politico, NH Union Leader]

What do you have when Wizards battle Screaming Lemurs? You have the 2012 GOP candidate Battle of the Bands! Alyssa Rosenberg rounds up the rock histories -- scant though they may be -- of Jon Huntsman (Wizard), Thad McCotter (Screaming Lemurs) and Rick Perry (sat in on drums for ZZ Top that one time). Who would win in an actual Battle of the Bands between the 2012ers? Personally, we'd like to see an end to hostilities and have Huntsman and McCotter form a prog supergroup. Regardless, there's no doubt that the whole thing would feature Rick Santorum off to the side of the stage, yelling about "the Devil's music." [Alyssa @ Think Progress]

Mitt Romney, Harvard graduate, hates Harvard graduates. How much further can his self-loathing take him? (Pretty far, actually.) [War Room @ Salon]

I praised Fox News for producing a debate that avoided all of the dumb schtick and inane questions of the CNN debate that preceded it. Now, with Google's help, they will produce a schticky, inane debate of their own. Oh! And this was just added to the already mind-numbingly crowded slate of debates scheduled over the next two months. So this one will be inane and entirely superfluous. Hooray. [Gawker]

Romney=Kerry; Perry=Dean? Wonderwall? Swoonlet? I don't know. Just go with it. [Swampland]

The Democrats will have a hard time maintaining their slim majority in the Senate in 2012. That's for everyone who spent the past year in a coma. [Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball]

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com -- learn more about our media monitoring project here.]