10/21: Any Way You Slice It…

By Barbara Carvalho

If you are a devotee of politics or just a casual observer, you’ve been hearing a whole lot this election cycle about the enthusiasm gap strongly favoring the GOP and destined to send the Democrats scurrying for cover.

carvalho-caricature-430The case for a GOP rout goes something like this.  According to the latest McClatchy- Marist Poll, 51% of Republican voters around the nation tell us they are “very enthusiastic” about voting this November compared to a paltry 28% for the Democrats.

Turnout is tied to motivation.  The Democrats who this time represent the incumbent party no longer have the winds of change at their backs.  Instead, they must navigate powerful head winds.

Drilling down into the numbers, the potential for a Democratic disaster is even more apparent.  Younger voters (those under 30) clock in at 11% on the” very enthusiastic” scale.  Their older counterparts (those over 60) are a far more robust 48% on this question.  By political ideology, 27% of liberals are eagerly counting down the days to November 2nd, whereas 53% of conservative self-identifiers are so inclined.  The electorate that ushered in Barack Obama to the White House two years ago is now on the sidelines suggesting turnout won’t resemble 2008.

Swing voters may opt out of the electorate, not uncommon in off year elections.  No wonder team Obama is trying everything possible at this late date to re-enthuse his core supporters.

Of course, all of these poll numbers are aimed at a moving target.  Campaign dynamics often create late action as voters focus their sights on an approaching election.  Certainly, the White House has its electoral game face on.  And, Democratic candidates are aware of the uphill fight they face.   But, so far the tea leaves are mostly pointing the GOP’s way.