Gallup has a poll that informs us that voter enthusiasm is higher for Republicans today than it is for Democrats. This is not a big surprise considering that it is the GOP that is the party currently on the outside looking in at the Oval Office. It is pretty common to see the party on the outs a bit more enthusiastic than the party in. But the Democrat’s numbers show that the bottom fell out for them since 2007.
What Gallup found was that by 53% to 43%, Republicans held the edge in voter enthusiasm.
Republicans, including independents who lean Republican, are slightly more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they are “more enthusiastic than usual about voting” this year. Republicans have consistently led Democrats in voting enthusiasm since last fall, but to varying degrees.
Gallup also found that Republicans were less enthusiastic about their primary race this time last presidential election, too. In February of 2008 Republicans stood only at 44% in enthusiasm compared to the 53% they stand at now.
But there is a more interesting story here. It appears that the bottom has fallen out of Democrat’s enthusiasm when they were looking forward to voting for Senator Obama to become President Obama in 2008.
Gallup says that in 2008, “79% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting, higher than the 53% of Republicans today and the 44% of Republicans in 2008.”
Apparently Obama has not been able to even remotely sustain his grand levels of support from 2008 prior to his election to the White House. But as Gallup notes, the GOP may have a higher rate of enthusiasm now, but it doesn’t quite seem to be enough to overpower the lower enthusiasm rate of independents for the GOP primary candidates.
The 2012 GOP nomination battle, with its frequent shifting of front-runners, has certainly provided a strong basis for Republicans to become engaged in this year’s election, although that could be tempered by Republicans’ dissatisfaction with their choice of candidates. In any case, Republicans currently have a small but noticeable advantage in enthusiasm, at the same time Gallup’s latest trial heats for the fall election show both Republican front-runners statistically tied with Obama among registered voters. Thus, Republicans may need a stronger lead in enthusiasm to realize a meaningful benefit in November.
I suspect this picture will change a bit after the bruising primary is over, though, and GOP voters have one guy to focus on. If it’s Mitt… it wouldn’t surprise me if that enthusiasm rate goes down! But I hope I am wrong.