The GOP Holds a Substantial Edge Amongst Enthusiastic Voters Heading into the November 2010 Elections
Gallup is out with a new poll today regarding the upcoming 2010 midterm elections of about 1500 registered voters over the first week of March 2010. The most significant finding from the polling is that the Republican-supporting voters are substantially more enthusiastic than Democrat-supporting voters, with a full 18 point gap between the parties amongst those “very enthusiastic” about voting in 2010. The Gallup release, of course, buries the lede by trumpeting in its headline and throughout its release that the Democrats hold a slim 47% to 44% lead amongst all registered voters, while failing to even release its views on the likely voter turnout split. Gallup’s release:
PRINCETON, NJ — Democrats lead Republicans by a slight 47% to 44% margin when registered voters are asked which party’s congressional candidate they would support in their district “if the elections for Congress were being held today.”At the same time, Gallup’s inaugural weekly tracking update on the 2010 elections shows Republicans with a distinct advantage over Democrats in terms of enthusiasm about voting this year.
While Gallup alludes in its opening paragraph to significant GOP strength in likely voters, nowhere in its release does Gallup actually state its findings on the margin between the parties amongst likely voters. Other pollsters have released numbers regarding the 2010 preferences of likely voters and have found a small but consistent GOP lead: Rasmussen Reports (GOP +8, 44/36) , James Carville’s Democracy Corps (GOP +3, 47/44), Democratic pollster PPP (GOP +3, 43/30), GOP pollster McLaughlin Group (GOP +7, 47/40) are examples. Gallup breaks out its “enthusiasm” numbers in detail instead:
Republican-leaning Voters Have an 18 Point Enthusiasm Advantage over their Democratic counterparts Regarding Voting in November 2010
Gallup’s reported enthusiasm gap, eighteen points amongst those “very enthusiastic” to vote in November 2010 and fourteen points amongst all those either “very” or “somewhat” enthusiastic about voting, almost certainly translates into a lead of at least a few points for the GOP amongst “likely” voters instead of the broader registered voters metric. As noted above, other pollsters, even those from the left, back up those conclusions about likely voters.
Another final warning sign for Democrats regarding turnout in the Gallup report relates to young voters – who apparently are not too enthusiastic about voting in November 2010. Gallup dryly notes that the “apparent lack of motivation to vote — if it continues until Election Day — could deprive Democrats of the full benefit they could in theory derive if all 18- to 29-year-olds were to vote.” Well, of course the Democrats would benefit if all young voters were to turn out in November 2010 – Gallup’s restatement of this fact is another example of Gallup’s attempt to spin the very negative data produced by their polling. Indeed, if all over 65 voters “were to vote”, the Republican Party would gain a significant benefit because older voters are trending GOP, especially now as a strong majority of older voters oppose the Democratic comprehensive health care reform plans.
Young Voters Are Not Enthusiastic About Voting in November 2010, Especially When Compared to Older Voters
To summarize, Gallup findings, as buttressed by James Carville’s Democracy Corps polling, Democratic pollster PPP’s polling, GOP pollster McLaughlin Group’s polling, and Rasmussen Report’s polling, clearly indicate that the GOP is in a strong position to make significant gains in the November 2010 elections because Republican-leaning voters are much more likely to vote than Democrat-leaning voters. As the health care reform endgame plays out this week and next in Washington, this batch of polling data will undoubtedly be a topic of discussion for politicians of all stripes as decision time on their individual votes draws near.
UPDATE: While the establishment media has had little to say about the results of this Gallup survey and the supporting data from other pollsters, left wing bloggers are today sounding the alarm about the paucity of Democratic enthusiasm to vote in November 2010. Of course, the left wing spin on these numbers is that the Democrats must ram through the unpopular comprehensive health care reform bill to remedy the problem:
Only twenty four percent of Dems and Dem leaners — that would be less than one fourth — are “very enthusiastic” about voting in 2010. And a startlingly high 44%, nearly half, are “not enthusiastic.”
Meanwhile, 42% of Republican voters are very enthusiastic, versus only 30% who are not enthusiastic. Those are more or less mirror images of each other. Indeed, the percentage of Dems who are not enthusiastic is almost exactly the same as the percentage of Republicans who are very enthusiastic!
One other clear measure of how much the bloom is off the Obama rose: Only 20% of voters 18-29 are very enthusiastic.
Dems might want to think about giving their base voters something to get enthusiastic about. Maybe a health care reform signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, perhaps? It’s hard to picture these enthusiasm numbers getting worse for Dems, but imagine if reform failed!