Every week the media gets very hyper and gleefully pushes the Democratic doom narrative when a new poll comes out showing that voters very excited about casting their ballots this fall strongly favor the GOP. In many cases the number among 'very excited' voters gets more play than the overall numbers. That's a mistake.
Our last national poll finds the same thing every other poll does. Very excited voters favor Republicans on the generic Congressional ballot 50-38. But Democrats lead 53-35 with somewhat excited voters and 45-27 with not very excited voters, giving them an overall 43-41 lead.
So which number matters more- the overall one or the one among highly enthused voters? Let's look at a few of the races we've already had this cycle:
-In the special House election in Pennsylvania last month our polling found Republican Tim Burns up 60-38 with very excited voters. He trailed 50-46 with somewhat excited voters and 53-37 with not very excited voters. Burns lost the election because the Democrats, excited or not, still turned out.
-In the Massachusetts Senate race Scott Brown led 59-40 with very excited voters, trailed 60-35 with somewhat excited ones, and trailed 61-31 with not very excited ones. He won but those folks who said they weren't very excited still showed up and kept his margin of victory to 5 points.
-In the New Jersey Governor's race Chris Christie lead 60-34 on our final poll with very excited voters, trailed 44-42 with somewhat excited ones, and tied at 39 with not very excited ones. Like Brown he won, but it was only by 4 points and nowhere close to the 26 point lead he showed with very excited voters.
Clearly there is a significant enthusiasm gap that is playing to Republicans' advantage. But most poll answering Democrats who say they're unexcited about voting are still doing so in the races we've had thus far this cycle, so getting too excited about large Republican leads with highly enthused voters when the overall numbers tell a different story is somewhat misleading. An unexcited vote counts just the same as a very excited one.