Is the “enthusiasm gap” now on the side of Democrats?
A new PPP poll suggests that’s the case. As I’ve mentioned any number of times, this is one of the polls I keep tabs on because the enthusiasm of the voting public for a particular candidate or party are key to Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts and election wins.
The paltry turnout in the Republican Presidential contests over the last week reflects what we’ve seen in our recent national polling: Democrats are now more excited about voting this fall than Republicans are, reversing the enthusiasm gap that plagued the party in 2010.
Our last national survey for Daily Kos found that 58% of Democrats were ‘very excited’ about voting this fall, compared to 54% of Republicans. Six months ago the figures were 48% of Democrats ‘very excited’ and Republicans at the same 54%. Generally you would expect voters to get more excited as the election gets nearer. That trend is occurring on the Democratic side, but not for the GOP.
Going deeper inside the numbers:
-25% of conservatives are not at all excited to vote this fall, compared to only 16% of liberals.
-The percentage of Tea Party voters ‘very excited’ about voting in November has declined from 73% to 62% since late July.
-The single group of voters most enthused about turning this year are African Americans, 72% of whom say they’re ‘very excited’ to cast their ballots.
Given the GOP primary process, I have to say I’m not at all surprised by these numbers. It’s has been bloody and divisive. But, as PPP admits, this could change once a nominee is settled upon. And, one should remember, President Obama has been mostly out of the pre-election limelight. Once the focus of the GOP has settled on him, you may see enthusiasm on the right rise again. But suffice it to say, the enthusiasm gap we see right now has more to do with the current crop of GOP candidates than ousting Barack Obama from the presidency.
Another poll, WND/Wenzel Poll, suggests that 20% of self-identified Republicans are leaning toward Obama this year. I’m not so sure about that. And if true, does that indicate actual support for Obama or disgust with the GOP process (and candidates). I’d guess the latter. At this point, though, Intrade has Obama’s re-election chances at 60%.
Before the Obama campaign begins to celebrate, there’s something they need to consider this from Gallup:
This historical pattern suggests that Obama would need to see his job approval rating climb to 50% to be in a comfortable position for re-election. History shows that by March of the election year, all winning presidents in the modern era, including George W. Bush, had job approval ratings above 50%, and all losing presidents had job approval ratings below 50%. This suggests that where Obama stands by next month may be an important indicator of his ultimate re-election chances.
In fact, at this point in his presidency he has an approval rating below that of both George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, both of whom lost their re-election bids.
Independents aren’t mentioned among all this polling and it is their enthusiasm and turn out that will likely determine November’s outcome. But still … if you can get your own base enthused, how are you going to convince indies to turn out for you?
That’s what I want to try to look into a little at CPAC. We’ll see what I find.