If I had to name the two biggest factors that cost Democrats the 2010 election cycle it would be 2 e's- economy and enthusiasm. A huge part of the party's problem was the bad economy, which drove independent voters strongly toward GOP candidates. But just as important was the enthusiasm gap and the fact that Republicans turned out at a much higher rate than Democrats in almost every state in the country.
I don't know where the economy's going to be 22 months from now but our newest weekly national survey for Daily Kos finds that the enthusiasm problem for Democrats is likely to be quickly a thing of the past.
85% of Democrats in the country are either 'very excited' or 'somewhat excited' about voting in the Presidential election next year, actually slightly higher than the 82% of Republicans. There are more Republicans who are 'very excited'- 62% to the Democrats' 57%, but 'somewhat excited' voters are going to come out the vast majority of the time. The ones you need to worry about are the 'not excited' voters- and 18% of Republicans and 16% of Democrats fall into that category, virtually indistinguishable.
Digging deeper the single group with the highest percentage of voters who are 'very excited' about turning out next year is African Americans at 71%. Anyone who thinks black voters aren't going to match their record turnout from 2008 and cast more than 90% of their votes for the President is kidding themselves. They may not have been excited enough about the Dan Onoratos and Brad Ellsworths and Jon Corzines of the world to turn out in 2009 and 2010 but that says nothing about their eagerness to come out with Obama back on the top of the ticket.
Another big turnout issue for Democrats last year was that the percentage of voters under 30 collapsed while the share over 65 collapsed. That also doesn't look like it will be a problem next year- the 54% of young people 'very excited' about voting next year is exactly the same as the portion of senior citizens who express that sentiment.
Republicans are going to have to find some votes elsewhere to match their 2010 victory because their enthusiasm advantage appears to have been a one cycle phenomenon.