Tracking the intensity gap
Fri July 2, 2010 9:51 am

As I have said previously, the most important statistic in this election cycle is voter intensity and enthusiasm. Here is the latest poll from Pew:

Fully 56% of Republican voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous elections – the highest percentage of GOP voters expressing increased enthusiasm about voting in midterms dating back to 1994. While enthusiasm among Democratic voters overall is on par with levels in 2006, fewer liberal Democrats say they are more enthusiastic about voting than did so four years ago (52% then, 37% today).

The Republican Party now holds about the same advantage in enthusiasm among its party’s voters that the Democratic Party held in June 2006 and the GOP had late in the 1994 campaign. Moreover, more Republicans than Democrats are now paying close attention to election news (64% vs. 50%). At this stage in previous midterms, news attentiveness was about the same for voters in both parties.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 16-20 among 1,802 adults and 1,496 registered voters reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that the Republicans also continue to hold a substantial advantage in the proportion of their party’s voters who say they are “absolutely certain” to vote. Currently, 77% of Republican voters say they are absolutely certain to vote compared with 65% of Democratic voters.

Democrats continue to do well in the generic congressional ballot polling, but that will not avail them if Democratic voters are swamped by greater Republican enthusiasm.

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