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10/28: Too Little Too Late?

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10/28: Too Little Too Late?

The latest national poll numbers from McClatchy-Marist point to some late movement for Team Obama and the Democrats.  But, if you’re Speaker Pelosi, you’re still likely to lose your day job.

miringoff-caricature-430The president’s approval rating is up to 48% from 43% earlier this month.  This is nothing exactly to write home about, but an improvement nonetheless.    The so-called “enthusiasm gap” which has been the center point of much political discussion this election cycle has also narrowed.  Among those who say they are “very enthusiastic” about voting next Tuesday, the GOP advantage over the Democrats has decreased from 23 percentage points to 14 percentage points.

On the economic front, there has been a five percentage point swing in the number of voters who think the economic glass is half full and that we’ve turned the economic corner.  Another good sign for the Democrats.

But, before the White House breaks out the champagne, the pre-election poll numbers for the Democrats still look pretty bleak.  Most telling is the question on the generic vote for Congress.  Here, the Democratic advantage of 6 percentage points among the entire potential electorate melts away as consideration is first given to likely voters and, than dramatically, to those who are most likely to vote.  It is with this group of definite voters that the GOP enjoys a 6 percentage point lead over the Democrats.

Then, there’s the enthusiasm question.  The GOP continues, despite the narrowing gap, to have a double digit advantage over the Democrats.  More than half of those voters who identify as politically conservative are “very enthusiastic” about voting next Tuesday compared with only about one in three political liberals.  And, 44% of those most likely to vote self-identify as conservative.  Only 20% sees themselves as liberal.   And, perhaps, most telling is the weakest group on the enthusiasm question is those under 30 years old.  What a difference two years has made.

The wrong direction numbers, also a sign that the party in power has some explaining to do, dwarfs the right direction numbers by 52% to 38%.

So, we head into the final few days of campaign 2010.  But, this time it’s the elephant herd that’s fired up and ready to go.

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Lee M. Miringoff is the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Follow Lee on Twitter at @LeeMiringoff.

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