Republicans Enjoy Enthusiasm Gap

Enthusiasm gapVia Taegan Goddard, I see that the latest Daily Kos/Research 2000 tracking poll show that Republicans are markedly more excited about the 2010 election than Democrats.

QUESTION: In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?


Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23

Like Josh Marshall, this doesn’t surprise me at all.

Everyone knows there’s an enthusiasm gap. You don’t even need a poll to tell you. You can feel it. On the one hand you’ve got very gunned up conservatives, who make up an even greater proportion of the diminished GOP. On the other you’ve got a mix of demoralized progressives and other Dems who feel like they got the job done in November 2008 and have checked out on politics … at least for now.

Actually, I think it’s even more basic than that.  Out parties are almost always hungrier than the party in power.  Hope! and Change! are much more exciting than Stay the Course!

Moreover, the in-party has to govern, which means that some sizable number of their nominal supporters are disgusted with them over one or more issue areas.  Republicans hate Obama’s health care plan.   So do many Democrats!  Republicans think Obama’s screwing up in Afghanistan.  So do many Democrats!  Republicans are unhappy with Obama’s policies on torture, terrorism, and gay rights.  So are many Democrats!

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, Political Theory, Public Opinion Polls, Terrorism, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Many people are tired of Obama spending us into bankruptcy. Some folks are concerned about his willingness to surrender our sovereignty to the UN. Others are concerned about his lack of appreciation for our traditional allies (maybe this family’s relationship with the Mau Mau’s in Kenya have something to do with his distaste for the UK). Other folks are just tired of this guy apologizing for this great nation. Then there are those who take a look at what he is up to and come to the conclusion he is a communist out to change our country, take away our freedom of choice, our wealth and impose the will of the elite upon us. This will result in a second civil war.

  2. Triumph says:

    We are faced with the first time in American History where immigrants are ruling us and trying to elevate socialism as the official policy of America. We also have a ruler who is deliberately trying to destroy our military through his Afghanistan and Iraq policy so his native brethren can invade.

    We just had a terrorist attack on American soil in Fort Hood–something, as Dana Parino said,that never happened under Bush. Bush was an American protector. Hussein is a foreign usurper and will sell us out to the taliban.

    This is why most people recognize that a patriot ticket like Palin/Dobbs will easily push the immigrant party out of power.

  3. Brett says:

    Of course we’re not particularly excited. We’ve got very little to gain in the 2010 election, and mostly stuff to lose in terms of seats and the like (particularly since it seems unlikely that many more Senate seats will swing Democratic). On top of that, the Republicans get to promise the moon and more, while we have to defend reality.

    We just had a terrorist attack on American soil in Fort Hood–something, as Dana Parino said,that never happened under Bush.

    You mean, aside from that minor, inconsequential thing we call 9/11? I thought you were the living image of a republitard, but I didn’t think you had all the research capability of a 1998 spambot.

  4. UlyssesUnbound says:


    Triumph parody’s the craziest of the conservative right. He’s actually (I think) quite sane and reasonable. Don’t worry, Triumph is so good at what he does, that he’s played his joke on all of us at one time or another.

  5. UlyssesUnbound says:

    parodies…’parody’s?’ Bad English major!