(Chicago) – Midterm election enthusiasm lags as Republicans have an advantage over Democrats but nowhere near as large as in 2010, a new poll says.
“A majority of U.S. registered voters, 53%, say they are less enthusiastic about voting than in previous elections, while 35% are more enthusiastic,” according to Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones.
In addition, Jones says:
The 18-percentage-point enthusiasm gap is larger than what Gallup has measured in prior midterm election years, particularly in 2010 when there was record midterm enthusiasm.
Among registered voters, 42% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents currently say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, while 50% are less enthusiastic, resulting in an eight-point enthusiasm deficit. But Democrats are even less enthusiastic, with a 23-point deficit (32% more enthusiastic vs. 55% less enthusiastic).
Typically, the party whose supporters have an advantage in enthusiasm has done better in midterm elections. Republicans had decided advantages in enthusiasm in 1994, 2002, and especially 2010 — years in which they won control of the House of Representatives or expanded on their existing majority. Democrats had the advantage in 2006, the year they won control of the House. Neither party had a decided advantage in 1998, a year Democrats posted minimal gains in House seats.
A separate measure, one that historically has been predictive of turnout, asks Americans how much thought they have given to the election. Currently, 26% of Americans say they have given “quite a lot” or “some” thought to this year’s midterm elections, much lower than Gallup’s initial measurement in 2010 (37%) but on par with early readings in 2006 (28%) and 1998 (29%).
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 24-30, 2014, with a random sample of 1,513 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
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