The Campaign Spot

Bolger: This Year’s Enthusiasm Gap Worth an Extra 4.6 Percent for GOP Candidates

Pollster Glen Bolger mixes a great insight with a simile that left me groaning:

Buoyed because they are not losing in all strong Democratic states or districts, there is a whistling past the grave yard argument being made by some Dems and pundits that the enthusiasm gap is closing. And that’s partly true.

The enthusiasm gap has narrowed slightly. But it was bound to narrow. The 2010 enthusiasm gap was the Grand Canyon of all election cycles. Now, the gap has done some natural tightening, but it is still just as lethal for the Democrats as it is to drive a Segway off a 30 foot cliff.

Late last week, I completed eleven polls in seats Democrats need to win to avoid a bloodbath. In all eleven of those seats, the Democratic candidate (nine incumbents, two open seats) was trailing by more among the most interested voters than they were on the initial ballot.

A very cautious measure of the enthusiasm gap found it worth an average of an extra 4.6 points for Republicans on the ballot, adding anywhere from two to eight points to the GOP ballot score. That is a significant boost in close elections.

The Segway metaphor refers to this.


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