The “enthusiasm gap” was always the Democrats’ biggest problem heading into the November midterm elections, and conversely also their biggest hope. Democrats have told poll after poll they were less likely to vote than their Republican counterparts. If only Democrats could enthuse their supporters, strategists have been hoping, then maybe the party could still trump the Republicans in some tight races.
So the Democrats will be pleased today with the results of our latest Reuters/Ipsos poll from California, which not only shows their candidates leading in the race for the Senate and the governor’s office, but also shows that enthusiasm gap narrowing slightly. Some 75 percent of Democrats now say they are certain to vote, up from 60 percent in June. Comparative numbers for Republicans are 83 percent now, up from 73 percent in June.
This tends to support evidence from other polls that the enthusiasm gap could be closing, giving Democrats a flicker of hope of avoiding a rout, as political correspondent John Whitesides reported last Friday. Add to that, some evidence from an ABC/Washington Post poll that voters are losing their enthusiasm for Tea Party candidates, and things are looking a little less grim for the Dems this evening.