Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thoughts on the Enthusiasm Gap

The enthusiasm gap is still out there and certainly a problem Democrats are going to have to contend with this fall. But it's not nearly as large as the disparity in interest that helped result in bad Democratic losses in Massachusetts and Virginia so far this cycle.

Our national poll this week found 66% of Republicans 'very excited' about voting this fall to only 51% of Democrats, for a 15 point gap.

By comparison the gap was 26 points in Massachusetts, where 89% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats were very excited about voting. It was 26 points in Virginia as well where 64% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats were very excited about voting.

The results of those races certainly don't bode well for Democratic prospects this fall but it's still important to emphasize that they were not 'normal.' Republicans were so excited about Scott Brown...and Democrats were so unexcited about Creigh Deeds that those races ended up having unusually large enthusiasm gaps. Most races are not going to see the kind of disparity in candidate quality that those did.

To be fair the national enthusiasm gap right now is larger than in New Jersey, where Democrats had another of their bad losses. It was 12 points there with 47% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats 'very excited' about voting. But the problem for Jon Corzine was not so much that Democrats didn't show up but that a lot of them were voting against him- and there aren't a lot of folks across the country running this year whose approval numbers within their own parties are as weak as Corzine's were.

Disparities in enthusiasm are likely to hand Republican candidates some close races this year...but it's not likely to be on a Virginia or Massachusetts scale.

1 comment:

DBL said...

You can find a silver lining in any cloud. We are three and a half months from the election. On October 1, 2008 Republicans weren't enthusiastic about Scott Brown. The earliest people anyone got excited was about a month out, but really it didn't start to build until two weeks before. I'm guessing an 89% very excited is abnormal. If something like that happens, it happens within two weeks of the election. You can't get that many people excited so far from the election.

Web Statistics