Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why things could get better for Dems

You can put me in the column of folks who don't think things have gotten better for Democrats in September. Yes, things have gotten better in some individual races (California Senate, Washington Senate, Ohio Governor come to mind.) But they've also gotten worse in some individual races (West Virginia Senate, Ohio Senate, Wisconsin Senate come to mind.) And looking at the national indicators I just don't see a whole lot of progress.

I do, however, think Democrats could end up doing better in November than the polls suggest right now for two big reasons- 1) most races right now have a lot more Democratic undecideds than Republicans and 2) the enthusiasm gap isn't going to do anything but shrink.

First a look at the undecideds. We have polled 14 Senate or Gubernatorial races since Labor Day. In 12 of them there are more undecided Democrats than Republicans and it's usually by a wide margin- the average across those 14 contests is 17% more undecided Democrats than Republicans.

GOP voters are incredibly unified this year and most Republican candidates don't have much room to grow with their base over the final month of the campaign. There's no guarantee that the undecided Democrats will end up coming home but more than likely they will. Last year's New Jersey Governor's race is a good example of this.

Comparing our poll in mid-September to our final poll of the race Jon Corzine gained 8 points with Democrats while Chris Christie saw just a 3 point increase with Republicans. Obviously it wasn't enough in the end for Corzine to win but he gained a lot of ground and if the same thing happens for Dems who are down by 5 points right now rather than double digits it could put them over the top.

Here's the party breakdown of the undecideds in races we've polled since Labor Day:


% of undecideds who are Dems

% of undecideds who are GOP

Illinois Senate



Illinois Governor



North Carolina Senate



New Mexico Governor



Michigan Governor



Wisconsin Senate



Wisconsin Governor



West Virginia Senate



California Senate



California Governor



Delaware Senate



Kentucky Senate



New Hampshire Senate



New Hampshire Governor



And now a look at the enthusiasm gap. Republicans have been extremely excited about voting in this election all the way since the summer of 2009. GOP voters really can't get any more enthused about voting this year than they already are. Democrats have been significantly lagging on this front for most of the cycle but there are indications it's getting better. For instance our July national poll found 51% of Democrats 'very excited' about voting this fall. In September that figure had increased to 59%.

We also saw in our polling of the New Jersey and Virginia Gubernatorial races as well as the Massachusetts Senate contest that the electorate started looking more Democratic as the election got closer- the party's voters who weren't interested in the election 1 or 2 months out started getting more engaged in the final weeks. It wasn't enough (largely because the party had weak candidates in all 3 of those races) but again it could be in a race with different circumstances.

It's going to be a bad election cycle for Democrats- there's no doubt about that. But as Democratic interest in the election increases and the party's undecided voters come home it might not be quite as bad as it looks today.


Christian Liberty said...

Republicans unifying sooner means an advantage in fundraising, organization, GOTV, communication. Republicans can reach independents and undecideds and moderates, while Democrats are stuck trying to reassure their base.

Just like two years ago when Democrats had the advantage because they unified in June while Republicans remained divided and unenthusiastic until August-September. Democrats simply do not have the energy or resources to defend so many vulnerable candidates.

Christian Liberty said...

Unlike Democrats, Republicans actually have a reason to be excited about their party's direction.

Terri said...

Christian Liberty, BTW, Christians don't have a conner on liberty, or love of country, or patriotism, or the flag for that matter.

But I digress...are Republicans excited about shutting down the government again? Impeaching another Dem. President? Going billions more in debt to give millions and billions huge tax cuts?

I'm not sure what the appeal is. Is it the Tea Party who swears there is no racism amongst them, but have racist signs at their rallies? Is it the newly minted messianic Glenn Beck?

Tell me more about why you are so excited about your party's direction.

Anonymous said...

"Republicans actually have a reason to be excited about their party's direction."

So far to the right that you fall off the political spectrum?

Anonymous said...

>Unlike Democrats, Republicans actually have a reason to be excited about their party's direction.

Yes, Fox News viewers are excited to "take their country back," which apparently means extending tax cuts for millionaires. Just what the economy needs! My favorite Paul Ryan talking point is how tax cuts for the top 2 percent -- and the cuts really don't kick in until you're earning $1 million a year -- create jobs. So please explain why Bush had the worst job creation numbers since the country started keeping track?

wt said...

My guess is that the Dems who remain undecided (especially this late in the game) are ones farthest to the left, or farthest to the right.

Maybe they don't like the Dem candidate, or they're upset at Obama for hippy punching, or (oppositely) they're upset at Obama for being too liberal. Basically they remain undecided because they don't know if they can hold their noses and vote for the Dem.

These are the voters most likely to stay home, vote Green, or, in some cases, vote GOP. So I wouldn't think they will shrink enough to save the Dems.

Christian Liberty said...

It's amazing how delusional and hypocritical my detractors become when they are clearly losing.

The truth is that Republicans and Tea Party candidates ARE THE MAINSTREAM. It is the Democrats who are the so radical that they are off the map with their extremist views.

It is truly exciting to have Republicans that have learned the lessons of the past and are putting forth superior ideas that can actually improve our nation, unlike the Demoncrats who will continue to rape and pillage America for their own selfish gain.

Tax cuts are a moral imperative.
Cutting the size and scope and power of the federal government is a moral imperative.

All virtue comes from the right.
All racism comes from the left.

If you deny that all racism comes from the left, you are either lying to me or lying to yourself.

The Republican agenda restores freedom to the enslaved and gives aid to those who are struggling. (Isaiah 61)

The Republican agenda is so benevolent and so mainstream that you have to be an absolutely brainwashed extremist lunatic to have an objection to it. (unless the objection is that it doesn't go far enough to the right)

Christian Liberty said...

Tax cuts are a moral imperative. ALL Americans deserve tax relief. For the Demoncrats to discriminate against the productive and successful members of society just proves how EVIL the Democrats are... and how completely brainwashed and irrational their followers are.

Tax cuts for EVERYONE is a moral imperative. Anyone who opposes tax cuts is either evil or has been brainwashed by someone who is evil.

REPENT! REPENT! REPENT from your evil ways!

Tax cuts are a MORAL IMPERATIVE. Private property is an inalienable right. We as human beings deserve the fruits of our labor. We are not to be enslaved by the government.

Christian Liberty said...

No, Democrats AREN'T Staging a Comeback

Christian Liberty said...

The Tea Party restores America to greatness and honor and virtue. Tea Party values are American values. Tea Party values are middle-class values.

Anyone who has an objection to the Tea Party has obviously been completely brainwashed. Only the severely misinformed would have even the slightest objection to the Tea Party -- the greatest thing to happen to America in a generation!!

Christian Liberty said...


Bush and the Republican congress helped the economy to create millions of jobs.

Not until the Demoncrats hijacked the Congress in 2007 (by fraudulently running as conservatives) did the economy begin to lose jobs.

Republicans are the party of job creation. Democrats are the party of destroying jobs.

Anyone with a knowledge of history and economics KNOWS this is true.

NRH said...

Republicans really don't want to let anyone outside their little cult to hear their actual ideas. They can't convey their messages with dog-whistles anymore, though; they've gotten too overt.

When Republicans say they want to 'take our country back,' the words they're leaving off are 'from the brown people.'

Dustin Ingalls said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"The Republican agenda restores freedom to the enslaved and gives aid to those who are struggling. (Isaiah 61)"

HAHAHAH! OK, you have officially crossed the line from laughable retardation into certifiable insanity. And blasphemy. Quoting scripture by deifying the GOP is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, even worse than your unjustified, unsubstantiated assertions and idiotic, Orwellian absolutes.

Ranjit said...


The talk about Republicans or Tea party people being racist is getting old. I have been to most of the tea parties and conservative get together and I see more and more colored people(including me).

We are excited because republicans are going to put their feet down and do the following

1) Stop Spending

2) Give clear signals to business community. So, they will start hiring again(not the democrats idea of giving few hundred dollars to hire people)

3) Repeal the Healcare reform act

4) Stop the climate bill

5) pass an immigration bill that is similar to Arizona.

Just a sample buddy

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative and a Christian, but I wouldn't go so far as saying a political party frees people. That is pretty crazy. I also probably wouldn't compare government to Christianity in any way because I wouldn't want to soil the name of Christ with the necessary evil that is government and government force.

Anonymous said...

Christian Liberty:

The Bible

The Constitution

Can YOU tell the difference between the two?

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