Thursday, April 22, 2010

Party Unity and the Midterms

Lost in the endless coverage of tension between mainstream Republicanism and the Tea Party movement (which may well be mainstream Republicanism under a different name) is the fact that when it comes to voting this fall Republicans are a good deal more unified than Democrats are.

In the 11 most important Senate races that we've polled on so far this year the most likely GOP candidate is winning on average 10% more of the Republican vote than the most likely Democratic candidate is of the Democratic vote. On average GOP candidates are getting 80% support from their party's voters while the Democrats are getting 70% from theirs. All of the Republicans are getting at least 73% support from their party, while 6 of the 11 Democrats are under 70% with theirs. The only two Democrats who have their party more unified than their Republican opponent are Robin Carnahan in Missouri and Michael Bennet in Colorado.

There's actually a silver lining for Democrats in this- it means their candidates have more room to grow support between now and the fall. But while it's Republican disunity that gets most of the ink, it's Democratic disunity that may play a bigger role at the polls this fall. Unhappy Democrats aren't planning rallies to talk about it, they're just planning to support the GOP at the polls this fall or stay home.

Here's the full data:


Dem (% of Party Vote)

Rep (% of Party Vote)

GOP Unity Advantage


Giannoulias (54%)

Kirk (77%)

23 pts


Lincoln (68%)

Boozman (89%)

21 pts


Marshall (66%)

Burr (82%)

16 pts


Mongiardo (61%)

Paul (73%)

12 pts


Reid (75%)

Lowden (86%)

11 pts


Meek (67%)

Rubio (77%)

10 pts


Fisher (67%)

Portman (77%)

10 pts


Specter (71%)

Toomey (78%)

7 pts


Hodes (76%)

Ayotte (81%)

5 pts


Carnahan (85%)

Blunt (84%)

-1 pt


Bennet (79%)

Norton (77%)

-2 pts


Christian Liberty said...

Not to mention the preference of Independents for Republican candidates as well...

The only races on this list in which the Republican does not have an above average advantage of 10 points or more are races in which there is no Republican incumbent and there is still a Republican primary nomination to settle. Many Republican candidates are yet to gain name recognition and air ads. This suggests that at the bottom of the list, Republicans have more room to grow... which would lift the average Republican advantage even higher.

PA: Toomey, Luksik
NH: Ayotte, Binnie, Bender, etc.
MO: Blunt, Purgason
CO: Norton, Buck, Wiens, etc.

For the opposition party to be running so strongly this early is truly striking. Such strong early favor by the voters towards Republicans is precisely the metric that led to the bold predictions of a Republican majority in 1994.

Christian Liberty said...

Also, the proportion of registered voters who identify or lean Republican is the highest since 2005... while the proportion of RV who identify or lean Democrat is the lowest since 2005.

Christian Liberty said...

Gallup also finds Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting in the midterms... and that registered voters prefer Republicans by some of the largest margins in the past 50 years (near the peaks in 1994 and 2002).

Anonymous said...

Can you poll Hawaii special election?

Christian Liberty said...

As further evidence of Democratic disunity, Jesse Jackson Jr. may endorse Mark Kirk for IL senate over Democrat Giannoulias (

... although Jackson may be doing this because he is in trouble in his own house race (IL-2) (

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