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The Enthusiasm Gap
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 14, 2008

If Republicans haven't become aware of this yet, with all the primaries that have been completed, they're hiding their heads in the sand.

There is a definite "enthusiasm gap" in this election season and the Democrats are on the high side of it. It has been quite a while since I have seen the left so energized by an election or so captivated by their candidates. Among Republicans, it's obvious that's not rally the case with their presumptive nominee.

Gallup takes a look at the phenomenon and reports:
But beyond those distinctions, Democrats currently view the election as historic in terms of the quality of their leading candidates — 6 in 10 say both Obama and Clinton are better than most presidential candidates who have run during their lifetimes. In contrast, most Republicans view John McCain as neither better nor worse than prior candidates, and barely half of the party's supporters say they would be satisfied if he won the party's presidential nomination. It is unclear how this gap in candidate enthusiasm may play out in the general election, given that McCain is closely matched with both Democrats in Gallup's latest trial heats.
Of course, it's February and the Democrats (unlike, apparently, the Republicans) haven't yet settled on a final candidate. So it seems a little premature to be giving much credence to how closely McCain matches up to the two remaining Democratic nominees.

Instead it may be more telling to look at a little historic info regarding recent Republican nominees and John McCain:



Now granted, both of those to whom he is being compared won. But again, this is about enthusiasm, and what can be argued is the higher the percentage of satisfaction with the candidate, the higher the possible turnout to support him or her will be. If you're not satisfied with your party's candidate, the likelihood of supporting that candidate on election day diminishes.

Turning out the vote in November is the obvious key to winning. An excited and enthused base of voters will turn themselves out as we've seen in the recent Democratic primaries. The low satisfaction level for John McCain among voters on the right could spell electoral doom if he and his campaign don't figure out a way to generate a commensurate level of enthusiasm for his candidacy that we're seeing now among Democrats.

As a McCain observer for years, I don't think that's really possible. We'll see, but my guess is the enthusiasm gap remains, and, barring a major mistake by the Democratic nominee remains a significant factor in November.
 
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What is interesting is the amount of enthusism Democrats are showing for an empty suit.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I concur with Don’s assessment, but he ’makes them feel good’. I appears that’s all that matters to Democrats, the Party of Feelings.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
but he ’makes them feel good’.
And he is real pretty to boot, as I said on the other thread. Heck, I’m straight as p!$$ but he could get me to reconsider...

I cannot understand why the anti-O punditocracy has nothing to say about that. That is, unless they are similarly enamoured by looks alone.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
BTW, McQ, does Gallup have similar data on GWB in 2000? IIRC, he was far from being the party favorite at that time. Data from 16 and 20 years ago are interesting but leave out a lot.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
The "empty suit" allegation is one of the silliest to throw at Obama. He’s a very smart and thoughtful guy who makes detailed policy plans on his website, in speeches, and in his book.

As for "making them feel good" — well, rhetoric and motivating spirit are worth something. They’re pretty much what made Reagan — the "Great Communicator" who declared it "Morning In America" — the president he was.

Now, I agree that the manner in which, or reasons for which, some Democrats are enthusiastic for him strike me as silly or personality-driven. I would say the same about many Republicans in 2000 and 2004. I can only say that most humans (myself included) make most of our choices instincitively, then paper over our choices with post-hoc rationalizations. This is as true at the deli counter as it is in the polling booth.

 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://
I don’t think you can say much comparing Feb. numbers for McCain with June numbers for the Bushes. Any process for Republicans rallying around McCain would only just be getting started. (You see this beginning in the journals this week.)

McCain has time yet. But he will have his work cut out for him.
 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
The "empty suit" allegation is one of the silliest to throw at Obama. He’s a very smart and thoughtful guy who makes detailed policy plans on his website
Which website is that?

Here is Obama on "Job Creation"
Support Job Creation: Barack Obama believes we need to double federal funding for basic research and make the research and development tax credit permanent to help create high-paying, secure jobs. Obama will also make long-term investments in education, training, and workforce development so that Americans can leverage our strengths - our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism - to create new high-wage jobs and prosper in a world economy.
That’s a detailed plan?

Or how about Obama’s "plan" to have a "Nuclear Free World"
Obama will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But he will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. He will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate- range missiles so that the agreement is global.
"Naive" is the charitable word that comes to mind.


 
Written By: Rich Horton
URL: http://www.iconicmidwest.blogspot.com
What do you expect? Democrats are rallying around "hope" and "change." The only thing Republicans have to unite them is, "He sucks, but not as much as Hillobama."
 
Written By: DIffus
URL: http://
There is a huge cultural difference between the parties vis a vis politicians. Republicans generally don’t get as excited by politicians as Democrats. Republicans don’t look to politicians to monitor and moderate every aspect of their lives the way Dems do. Republicans look for leaders; Democrats look for saviors. That is why they get so emotionally bent out of shape in politics. Empty rhetoric resonates more with Democrats.
 
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
Now, I agree that the manner in which, or reasons for which, some Democrats are enthusiastic for him strike me as silly or personality-driven. I would say the same about many Republicans in 2000 and 2004.
Are you kidding? Show me someone who was part of Bush’s cult of personality to any degree and I’ll laugh at them. Openly. As my friend said in another thread: Obama’s not a candidate. He’s a drug.
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
The "empty suit" allegation is one of the silliest to throw at Obama. He’s a very smart and thoughtful guy who makes detailed policy plans on his website, in speeches, and in his book.
I remember asking a Kerry supporter in 2004 what Kerry had done that recommended him to be president. I didn’t ask snarkily. I really didn’t know and I wondered what a Kerry supporter would say. I got the same answer that Mithras gives above.

It seems to me that if Obama does have good, smart ideas (it’s a given that he doesn’t have any accomplishments beyond being a half-black junior senator), people who recommend him on that basis ought at least be able to name one idea and a feature or two of it, before referring you on to a website.

About the only specifics I know about Obama is that he will send the US military into Pakistan for al-Qaeda if the Pakistani government won’t act, and that he would meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea in his first year. These ideas are laudably specific but neither good nor smart IMO. Wisely, Obama has refrained from such specifics since then.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The "empty suit" allegation is one of the silliest to throw at Obama. He’s a very smart and thoughtful guy who makes detailed policy plans on his website, in speeches, and in his book.
When he does say something specific, it ain’t too smart.
Now, I agree that the manner in which, or reasons for which, some Democrats are enthusiastic for him strike me as silly or personality-driven. I would say the same about many Republicans in 2000 and 2004.
I’m much more impressed with Bush based upon the way he pushed the surge despite that fact that even most Republicans were looking for a way out of Iraq. In a word, steadfast leadership despite public opinion.

The idea that anyone voted for Bush in ’00 or ’04 based upon his personality (with the exception, I suppose, of some who knew him from Texas) is nuts.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
As for "making them feel good" — well, rhetoric and motivating spirit are worth something. They’re pretty much what made Reagan — the "Great Communicator" who declared it "Morning In America" — the president he was.
Actually it was the ability to bypass the media and get his word out by speaking to the public promptly and clearly. Something the current President can’t do. He also spoke frequenty. Something the current President won’t do.

Reagan also gave speaches that were the view at 30,000 feet, but weren’t empty. "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" given in West Berlin. I could see this being considered vapid if he wasn’t being literal.

We don’t even get the 30,000 foot view from Mr. Obama’s speeches.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Then there is the way that Obama is not an empty suit. He has one of the most consistently liberal voting records in Congress plus politically radical backgrounds in both his family and church.

I think Obama is an unreconstructed throwback to sixties/seventies radical politics except he is smart enough to stay vague and inoffensive and smile a lot.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
What is interesting is the amount of enthusism Democrats are showing for an empty suit.
Democrats?

Try Americans.

When Americans are polled about POLICIES, they consistently vote against the candidates that espouse the policies that they claim to support. How can this be explained? Simple, Americans vote for PEOPLE, not policies, and Obama seems to be winning in the PEOPLE arena.

Republicans and Independents, who would both indicate that they oppose many, of not most of the policies that Obama supports, are now supporting Obama.

I think the reference to Reagan is correct, Americans are seeing Obama as someone who can raise the spirit of the country. People hear the man speak and they feel better about everything. That was Reagan’s contribution to America, and a very significant contribution at that.

Lefties were stymied by Reagan’s success, they pointed at policies and tried to show people that Reagan was doing exactly the opposite of what they wanted done, but they just shrugged them off as people just said, "I don’t know, I just like the guy and I trust him".

Y’all may find out what that was like for all those lefties back in the 80’s.
I think Obama is an unreconstructed throwback to sixties/seventies radical politics except he is smart enough to stay vague and inoffensive and smile a lot.
Yeah, I think McCain is Nazi, he just doesn’t act, talk, or give any indication whatsoever that he is. (sarcasm - for the impaired)

You FEEL that Obama is blah, blah, blah

Whatever

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
The part about the "Enthusiasm Gap" that disturbs me is that it may well lead to a total Dem landslide. If Obama gets the nomination I think there is a serious possibility he will have coattails and that the Dems will end up with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and maintain their majority in the House.

I don’t know how you sell that, but if there is a way to turn fear of such a scenario into turnout at the polls then McCain and the Republicans need to find it.

He probably also needs to make a big splash with his VP choice.

 
Written By: GBW
URL: http://
VP choice is about the only tool to motivate conservatives. McCain is too prone to grudges, imho, to pick the correct one. It would need to be either Fred or Mitt. He could pick Huckabee and the media will let him say he’s appealing to conservatives. And I’ll say in a pig’s eye. The only issue the Huckster has been conservative on is abortion. Anything else is lacking.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Now granted, both of those to whom he is being compared won. But again, this is about enthusiasm, and what can be argued is the higher the percentage of satisfaction with the candidate, the higher the possible turnout to support him or her will be. If you’re not satisfied with your party’s candidate, the likelihood of supporting that candidate on election day diminishes.
Pretty sure Clinton won in 1992.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Sarcastic - I didn’t say that "I think Obama is gay" because there is something about his thinness and the Joe Camel gleam in his eyes that gives me that feeling.

I said what "I think" about Obama because of his most liberal voting record and his radical family and radical church. He hasn’t repudiated any of those things, so I assume that he is still mostly in accord with them. I assume that they have something, maybe a great deal, to do with who he is and what he will do. That’s why I said what "I think" about Obama.

Of course, I don’t "know" for certain. That’s just what I think.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
He hasn’t repudiated any of those things,
Obama has not repudiated any of the words he has not spoken, or any of the actions he has not taken, so therefore you "THINK", he holds radical opinions based on the words he has not spoken and the actions he has not taken.

Because... you think his church is radical and you think someone is his family is radical?

Alriiiiighty then



 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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