Democrat voters dispirited? Enthusiasm gap grows
That’s what the latest Gallup poll has concluded.
In thinking about the 2012 presidential election, 45% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, while nearly as many, 44%, are less enthusiastic. This is in sharp contrast to 2008 and, to a lesser extent, 2004, when the great majority of Democrats expressed heightened enthusiasm about voting.
45% just won’t get you to the promised land. And with Democrats you have to believe the numbers may be a bit softer than that. It’s called whistling past the graveyard. There may also be a little of the “I don’t want to be thought of as a racist” effect at work here, meaning a portion will claim enthusiasm for the president for fear of being thought to have deserted him because of his race. And, of course, they’ll likely not show up at the polls.
Democrats’ muted response to voting in 2012 also contrasts with Republicans’ eagerness. Nearly 6 in 10 Republicans, 58%, describe themselves as more enthusiastic about voting. That is nearly identical to Republicans’ average level of enthusiasm in 2004 (59%) and higher than it was at most points in 2008.
Democrats’ net enthusiasm (+1) now trails Republicans’ net enthusiasm (+28) by 27 percentage points. By contrast, Democrats held the advantage on net enthusiasm throughout 2008 — on several occasions, by better than 40-point margins. Democrats occasionally trailed Republicans in net enthusiasm in 2004, but never by as much as is seen today. The current balance of enthusiasm among Republicans and Democrats is similar to what Gallup found in the first few months of 2000.
Look I know it is early and I know the GOP can always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, but every poll out there on just about every aspect of the current electoral picture is exceedingly negative for Democrats and Barack Obama. And while plenty out there will attempt to wave all this bad news off, the bottom line is while each of these polls is a snapshot, when you put them all together they make an album of trends. Terms such as “lowest in history” have a meaning, and while all these polls won’t guarantee an outcome, they sure have been pretty good in pointing toward outcomes in the past.
And right now, they’re looking pretty darn bad for the prez and his party.