How does 'Factor' measure up to the 'insiders'?

Republican, Democrat "insiders" say Romney stands a strong chance in the race to 2012. Will our panelists' insight measure up?

republican contenders298 (photo credit: AP)
republican contenders298
(photo credit: AP)
Here is a table comparing our Israel Factor ranking of Republican contenders for the 2012 presidency with the ranking made by both Republican and Democratic “insiders."
In a previous post, we compared what Republican voters want (the candidates most popular, according to the Clarus Poll) with the candidates the panel likes more than others (those ranked higher on the “good for Israel” question). We have found some striking similarities – and some differences. You can see them all here: Factor panelists want what Republicans want, sort of.
In this post we keep the Clarus numbers in the table, but also add the answers both Republican and Democrat so-called “insiders” were giving in the traditional The National Journal survey.
The questions to Republicans and Democrats weren’t identical, and those looking at the table should take it into account. Republicans were asked to “Rank the top 5 candidates, 1 through 5, in terms of whom you think is most likely to capture the 2012 Republican presidential nomination." Democrats were asked “Who would be the Republicans' strongest presidential nominee in 2012?” Thus, the table bellow compares not just Israel Factor favorites with Republican voters’ favorites, but also serves as reality check for our panel.  
  Candidate              Israel Factor     Clarus Poll   NJ Insiders poll,    NJ Insiders poll,                                                                         GOP (107 votes)    Dem (113 votes)
Mitt Romney             6                        19%                   78                     29%Mike Huckabee        5.75                    18%                    21                                Sara Palin                3.87                    17%                    28Newt Gingrich          5.71                    10%                   16Chris Christie            4.6                      9%                       Ron Paul                  3.86                    4%           Bobby Jindal             4.5                      4%Tim Pawlenty           5.8                      3%                    33                     13%Haley Barbour          3.75                    2%                     24John Thune               4.8                      2%                    32                     15%Mitch Daniels            4                         2%                   37                     11%
Below are the conclusions The Israel Factor has drawn:
1. The panel should be happy to learn that Romney is in good position to win, according to both Republicans and Democrats.
2. It should also be quite satisfied that Tim Pawlenty seems to be someone with a good chance (Republicans) and that can be competitive against Obama (Democrats).
3. Giuliani isn’t even mentioned in the Insiders’ poll – the panel should probably get over him (see my post on this issue here).
4. Jeb Bush isn’t in the table since The Israel Factor doesn’t yet include his name. This will be corrected next time around, as both Republicans (5) and Democrats (14%) think he can be the one.
5. Our panel ranks Mitch Daniels fairly low. Is it because they think he will not be as “good” from an Israel standpoint as other candidates – or just because they don’t know much about him? Time will tell. Obviously, the panel tends to prefer the candidates we already know as presidential hopefuls over those we don’t.