Originally Posted by Jayhawk
In recent days and weeks, the mainstream media have repeatedly claimed that the Republican base is suffering from "low voter enthusiasm." It is easy to believe a story that is repeated so frequently, but in fact there is ample evidence to the contrary. By many measures, there are strong indications of a right-of-center base that is engaged and committed.
First, numerous polls clearly indicate near parity in intensity between Democrats and Republicans. Three recent national surveys--Gallup, Cook/RT Strategies, and the most recent RNC survey conducted by Voter/Consumer Research--all show partisan interest is approximately equal. The details of those polls are below:
Voter/Consumer Research (Oct. 8-10)
The RNC's internal research shows election interest at 7.7 on a 10-point scale among Republicans and 7.6 among Democrats, unchanged from late September and in line with this year's overall trend.
Gallup (Oct. 6-8)
To quote from Gallup's voter turnout projection, "Gallup's latest analysis suggests Republicans and Democrats are now roughly even in terms of anticipated turnout in the midterm congressional elections. The voting intentions of the large pool of registered voters is now similar to the voting intentions of the smaller pool of likely voters, showing no disproportionate impact of turnout in either direction"
Gallup asked, "How motivated do you feel to get out and vote this year -- extremely motivated, very motivated, somewhat motivated, not too motivated or not at all motivated?(% "extremely" or "very" motivated)" The following table shows that the GOP in fact now holds a slight lead, up from just a few months ago.DEM
Cook/RT Strategies (Oct. 5-8)
On a scale of one to 10, Republicans and Democrats have almost equally high mean election interest scores (8.2 for Republicans, 8.1 for Democrats), but Democrats hold a slight edge in the percentage of their voters who are "highly interested"--47 to 51 percent.
However, keeping in mind the local nature of midterm elections, it is more important to consider intensity by state or congressional district. RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics (conducted Oct. 8-10) released district-by-district polling showing Republicans have a slight edge in partisan intensity. GOP "voter motivation" is higher than Democratic motivation in 19 of 32 competitive House races, in some cases by as much as a full point on a 1 to 9 scale. Democratic intensity is higher in the remaining 13, and in none of those races is the difference higher than 2/3 of a point.
A recent Pew study (9/21-10/4) found that while roughly similar numbers of Republicans (41%) and Democrats (39%) are "regular" voters, more Republicans (25%) than Democrats (20%) vote intermittently--meaning there are more of our voters for us to turn out in a midterm election. Furthermore, Democrats (20%) are substantially more likely than Republicans (14%) to not be registered to vote at all.
Other Measures of Intensity
There are ways besides polls to measure the intensity of the Republican base, and those also indicate that GOP voters are strongly engaged. Fundraising, for example, is often called the 'first ballot' for the simple reason that supporters only donate when they are involved and enthusiastic. The RNC received support from 362,000 new donors this cycle. They averaged 8,256 contributions for each deposit day so far this year. They just announced that September has been the best financial month of the entire cycle. RNC supporters know how important this election is, and their financial support shows it.
Volunteer enthusiasm is another key measure of intensity. Again, every indication here is that the RNC base is working hard for victory in the 2006 election. Republican volunteers have contacted more than 14 million voters this year, and more than 7 million since Labor Day alone. The RNC has made 1 million voter contacts every week for the past five weeks, and for six weeks they have surpassed the number of contacts made at comparable times in 2004, a presidential election year.
The Bottom Line
Despite the media hype, an examination of all the facts makes it clear: the Republican base is active and engaged. No matter how you measure it--whether by record-breaking fundraising, unprecedented volunteerism, or scientific polling--the numbers show that Republicans understand the importance of the choice we all face on November 7.
Jayhawk, enjoy your shit sandwich:
October 10, 2006
Democratic candidates for Congress have opened up a significant lead over Republican candidates on Gallup's national generic ballot among registered voters. Republicans have typically enjoyed a turnout advantage on Election Day, particularly in lower turnout midterm elections. But the latest Oct. 6-8 USA Today/Gallup poll suggests that this advantage, at least for the moment, has dissipated. The Democrats maintain a virtually identical margin among both registered and likely voters. Democrats are more enthusiastic about voting this year than are Republicans.
The Democratic registered voter lead is now larger than any Gallup Poll estimate in a midterm election year since 1978. It is possible that some other major event could move things back the other way over the next four weeks, just as the Republicans have been rocked by the events associated with the Mark Foley scandal. Barring such a major shift in the political climate, however, an analysis of the current poll numbers in the context of pre-election polling in previous midterm elections suggests a high probability that the Democrats will win the national popular House vote. The probability has increased that the Democrats will win the 15 seats necessary to take control of the House of Representatives on Nov. 7.
There have been indicators throughout this year that have augured for a strong Democratic midterm election performance. Key Gallup indicators that assess the general social and political mood of Americans remain in negative territory for Republicans. Presidential job approval is at 37%, a level not seen in a midterm election since Harry Truman's presidency, and one that would predict a significant loss of seats by the president's party. Approval of the job Congress is doing is at 24%, near historical lows. Two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States. These indicators are close to their 1994 and 1982 levels, both years in which the president's party lost significantly in the midterm House elections. Support for re-electing incumbent members of Congress (both on a national level and in voters' own districts) is similar to what it was in 1994, when Republicans won a landslide election and took control of the House.
In early September, Republicans benefited from the Bush administration's emphasis on national security and terrorism. That advantage appears to have been short-lived. Democrats have the perceptual advantage of being better able to handle Iraq and corruption in government. Democrats are now slightly ahead of Republicans in terms of positioning on terrorism. These are the top issues on voters' minds this year.