Free Markets, Free People


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.

PPP’s latest:

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.


Twitter: @McQandO

PPP–Libya hurting Obama

Interesting poll especially because the US and Obama are ‘leading from behind’ in Libya and don’t have a prominent role tactically.  But that isn’t changing the fact that the majority of the public, according to this PPP poll, don’t support even that role:

Our most recent national poll found that only 27% of Americans supported the military intervention in Libya to 40% who were opposed and 33% who had no opinion. Democrats only narrowly stand behind the President in supporting the action in Libya, 31/28. Meanwhile Republicans (21/51) and independents (29/42) are considerably more unified in their opposition. [emphasis mine]

As I’ve mentioned many times, the group I always zero in on in any political poll are independents. They are the swing vote in this country.  The 13 point difference would say that on the whole Indies are not happy with the venture.   Somewhat surprisingly, Obama only enjoys very narrow support from Democrats – 3 points.

So all-in-all, Libya is a loser politically.

PPP makes an issue about American’s “not knowing” where Libya is, but still not liking it:

Libya is definitely proving to be a political loser for Obama which is interesting because only a little more than half of Americans, 58%, can actually correctly identify that it’s in northern Africa. 27% think that it’s in the Middle East, 4% think it’s in South Asia, 2% think it’s in South America, and 9% don’t offer an opinion. Voters may not be terribly informed when it comes to Libya but they know they don’t like what they’re seeing.

I take a little exception to that – Libya has and can be considered a part of the Middle East.  As a commenter on their site points out, it has been considered a part of the ME for decades:

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined the Middle East as "the area lying between and including Libya on the west and Pakistan on the east, Syria and Iraq on the North and the Arabian peninsula to the south, plus the Sudan and Ethiopia."

So in reality 85% of those who were polled were correct.  It is in N. Africa and is considered a part of the ME.  As for the other 15% – public school scholars I assume.

Finally, even though Libya is unpopular, it may not be much of a game changer in terms of votes:

Libya doesn’t seem likely to be a big vote shifter next year- 52% of voters say it won’t make a difference in their decision on whether to support Obama for reelection or not. But for the voters who do say it could be a game change it’s a negative- 31% say what’s going on in Libya right now make them less likely to vote for Obama compared to only 17% who say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Libya is one more negative to add to the pile.

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Obama has to do something he’s never done before – run on an actual record.  Libya becomes another negative to add to that record.