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August 31, 2006

Dem Voters Enthused About Voting This Year

Usually off-year elections bring our far few voters than elections held in Presidential years.  Because of that, the voters who care and show up to vote can make a difference.  So far, it looks like that means committed Democrats will make up a larger percentage of the voters in this election than in other elections.  Jonathan Singer over at MyDD has gathered together some polling figures from two polls, a June Pew Research Center poll and a recent Cook Political Report poll.  From the Pew Report:

Democrats are more enthusiastic about the upcoming election than was the case in 2002, 1998 or especially 1994, when they were particularly ambivalent about going to vote. By comparison, far fewer Republicans say they are looking forward to voting this November than in recent midterms. Just 30% of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than usual, down from 44% four years ago; 41% in June 1998; and 45% prior to the 1994 midterm election.

The heightened Democratic enthusiasm is particularly notable among liberal Democrats, 53% of whom are more interested in voting this year than usual. The partisan gap in enthusiasm is even visible among independents - those who lean Democratic are considerably more eager to vote than those who lean Republican. Overall, 47% of voters who plan to vote Democratic this fall say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, compared with just 30% of voters who plan to vote Republican.

Although Singer is clear in saying that he knows of no proven correlation between voter enthusiasm and likelihood to vote, he also says that "the major Republican victory in 1994 was presaged by a big GOP enthusiasm lead in October that year and the narrower Republican victories in 1998 and 2002 were also foreshadowed by their narrower GOP enthusiasm leads during the summer of those years".  And from the Cook Report (available only on pdf):

According to the latest Cook Political Report/RT Strategies poll, 67 percent of Democrats are highly interested in this year's midterm elections (those who, on a scale of 1-10 -- 1 being not at all interested in November's elections, 10 being very interested -- responded 9 or 10) while just 61 percent of Republicans are. Digging into the cross-tabs (.doc), we find that extremely high interest voters (those who answered 10) favored the Democrats by a whopping 55 percent to 37 percent margin over the Republicans in the generic congressional ballot question. High interest voters (those who responded 9 or 10) favor the Democrats by a similar 53 percent to 38 percent margin. In an election with generally low turnout, which may be the case this November, such leads in voter enthusiasm and preference among the likeliest voters could prove insurmountable even for the highly sophisticated GOTV machine implemented by the Republican Party.

Although this is hopeful, there is no room for complacency.  The Republicans will pull something out of their hat and we need to be vigilant and persistent in continuing to raise the interest of Democrats in voting this fall.

Posted by Lynn Allen on August 31, 2006 at 09:06 AM in Inside Baseball | Permalink

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