Sorry, Larry, Democrats Curb Their Enthusiasm

No matter how the data is sliced, or who slices the data, a clear enthusiasm gap has emerged. I first blogged about the GOP advantage after the Virginia Gubernatorial race here, and after the House Battleground NPR survey here. Other pollsters have written about it. A handful of Democratic thinkers (pollsters, bloggers) have disputed whether the enthusiasm gap is real or significant.

The gap exists – the real question is how much will there be on Election Day. In Virginia, what should have been a ten point Bob McDonnell win over Creigh Deeds (still a landslide in a 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Obama state) turned into an eighteen point win thanks to the GOP interest advantage. That kind of net eight point difference can take a lot of would-be close GOP losers and turn them into winners. Will it be as stark a difference in November 2010 as it was in 2009? That remains to be seen, but even a turnout boost of half that (four net points) is significant in close races.

My recent poll for American Crossroads in the 13 Battleground Senate seats found another significant enthusiasm gap. We use the question which asks voters how interested they are in the November elections on a scale of one to ten, “with one meaning that you have no interest in this election and ten meaning that you are extremely interested.”

We look at 10s (very high interest) and 8-10s (high interest), compared to 1-7 voters. There will be some voters who vote even though they are in the lower category, but they tend to be a significantly small of the electorate at the ballot box than they are in the survey.

In 2008, we found 86{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Republicans rating their interest as an 8-10, compared with 85{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats. In the last mid-term elections, 2006, the GOP 8-10 interest was 73{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, while Dem interest was 74{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}. This reinforces the point I was driving about those cycles – we did NOT have a base problem. Instead, we had a massive vote gap with Independents. Democrats appear to have both – a problem with base enthusiasm, and a problem with Independent support.

In the American Crossroads Battleground Senate poll, the enthusiasm gap we’ve been seeing since last year remains – and the impact is significant:

  • Among base GOPers, 87{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} rate their interest as an 8-10, compared to 76{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of base Dems. At 79{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, soft GOP interest is HIGHER than base Dems! Soft Dems aren’t motivated – only 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} rate their interest as an 8-10.
  • Thus, there is an 16 point party gap – 83{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Republicans overall rate their interest as 8-10, compared to 67{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Democrats overall. (The gap among 10s is similar – 15 points).
  • While the gap between Whites (75{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are 8-10s) and African Americans (70{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are) is not that great, the problems Democrats have is white Democrats – only 68{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} rate their interest as 8-10.
  • While there are more Obama voters than McCain (no kidding, great insight Glen!), their enthusiasm has been curbed. While 84{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of McCain voters in these states rate their interest as 8-10, only 66{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Obama do so – an 18 point dropoff.
  • As could be expected given the partisan differences, the enthusiasm gap also extends to ideology. While very conservative voters are fired up, ready to go (89{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are 8-10s), only 68{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of liberals feel the same (so much for the conventional wisdom that only swing Dems are down on their leadership of Washington).
  • However, there is NOT a similar enthusiasm gap between somewhat conservative voters (71{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} are 8-10s) and moderates (69{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).

What does this mean for the election? Democrats have a lot of digging to do to get their voters out. Among voters who rate their interest as an 8-10, the GOP lead on the ballot that is 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} among the overall electorate widens to 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-36{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}!

Democratic Senate candidates could have slight leads in some of these races going into voting period and still lose because of a wave of GOP enthusiasm. The DNC is going to need to spend every penny of that $50 million they are talking about spending on turnout. Of course, even then they are more likely to learn a lesson GOPers learned in 2006 the hard way – you can’t make up in turnout what you’ve already lost in message (stayed tuned for my next two blog posts on Thursday).

Similar Articles

  • Public Education Update
    read more

  • Americans See China And Russia As Adversaries Posing Two Different Threats
    read more

  • A New Look At Ideology
    read more

  • Is social media your friend or a frenemy?
    read more

  • Trump’s numbers tied for his peak high as impeachment talk looms
    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com