With less than three months to go until the election we switched over to likely voters for this week's polls and given the low level of Democratic interest in the election that not surprisingly led to more Republican leaning electorates in the Illinois and Pennsylvania polls we'll be releasing tomorrow than when we polled those states in June.
Our June Pennsylvania poll was based on a D+8 electorate, this week's poll is based on a D+2 electorate. The folks we surveyed in Pennsylvania this week voted for John McCain by 1 point, while Barack Obama actually won the state by 10 points in 2008.
We're seeing an even worse dropoff in Democratic interest in Ilinois. Our June poll there was based on a D+13 electorate, this week's poll is based on a D+9 electorate. The folks we surveyed in Illinois this week supported Barack Obama by 9 points in in 2008 in contrast to his actual 25 point victory there.
That diminishing of Democratic interest in Illinois is probably the worst we've seen anywhere so far in this election cycle but the party's ticket there is pretty clearly the worst they have anywhere in the country too so it's not all that surprising.
The dropoff in Democratic turnout these numbers suggest is similar to what happened to Democrats in Virginia last year, but worse than what they saw in Massachusetts and New Jersey where the problem was not so much Democrats not showing up as it was Democrats showing up and voting for Chris Christie or Scott Brown.
One thing I've noticed throughout this year is that Democratic interest is particularly depressed in states that have unpopular Democratic Governors and Illinois where Pat Quinn has a 23% approval rating and Pennsylvania where Ed Rendell has a 27% approval rating certainly fit the bill. Other states where we saw very low levels of Democratic interest even before switching over to explicitly polling likely voters were Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin where Jennifer Granholm, Chet Culver, and Jim Doyle are all among the least popular Governors in the country (if you're seeing a Midwestern theme here you should, the Big Ten states may be the most brutal of anywhere in the country for Democrats this year in terms of lost House seats and Governorships.)
One final note: we do not weight our polls for party or 2008 vote or anything like that- just fixed demographics of gender, race, and age. So the level of Democratic dropoff we show is not determined by our guesses, but by who says they're going to vote this fall and answers our polls.
We'll have the Senate numbers in both Illinois and Pennsylvania out tomorrow and the Governor numbers on Wednesday in each state.