Tags: | midterms | voter turnout | GOP | Dems

Midterm Challenge for Dems: Getting Voters to Polls

By    |   Monday, 13 Oct 2014 11:16 AM

With November's midterm elections looming and control of the Senate at stake, Democrats, who have been wobbling in surveys largely due to President Barack Obama's sinking popularity, are facing yet another obstacle — how to get their voters to show up at the polls.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC/Annenberg Public Policy Center poll shows Republicans with a 7 percent lead, 51 percent to 44 percent, in interest in the outcome of the election, which translates to big voter turnout worries for Democrats this year.

Among voters with low interest in the elections, Democrats top Republicans by 52 percent to 37 percent, meaning that Democrats are less interested and, therefore, less likely to vote, which threatens to throw control of the Senate to Republicans.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart told NBC News, "In the opening lap of the general election, the GOP is winning. Off-year elections are about intensity, which becomes a question of which set of voters cares most."

Justin Barasky of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told US News and World Report, "It's very clear that our most significant challenge is not the Koch brothers, not ACA [the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare], but turnout."

In what the Democrats' are calling the "Bannock Street Project," US News reports, the committee is spending $60 million to boost voter turnout, or nine times the amount spent in 2010 and over twice as much as spent two years ago. The Hill reports that the Congressional Black Caucus has launched voter turnout drives in 3,000 black churches, but the question is, are they a day late and a dollar short?

Democrats are well aware of their problem with voter turnout. President Obama recently said in a fundraising speech, "Democrats have a congenital disease. We do not vote in midterm elections. We don't vote at the same rates in midterm elections as we do at presidential elections. We have more folks who agree with us but, all too often, (Republicans) end up winning some of these elections," The Journal reported.

The poll was conducted Oct. 3-9, but the warning signs have been there for awhile.

In an earlier Annenberg poll conducted Sept. 14-18, Republicans had a 10 percent greater "highly interested" rate than Democrats, 54 percent to 44 percent.

In the same poll, 75 percent of Republicans said they believe the midterms are an important election (42 percent saying "much more important" and 33 percent saying "somewhat more important"), compared to just 57 percent of Democrats.

Among typically pro-Democratic voter groups, only 42 percent of women, 31 percent of African-Americans, 23 percent of Hispanics and 20 percent of young voters between 18-34 had a high interest rate, compared to 62 percent of seniors, 63 percent of tea party supporters and 50 percent of white men, all likely Republican-supporting groups.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told The Hill that Obama's decision to hold off on action on amnesty for illegal immigrants has hurt Democratic chances and turnout.

"I think if we'd done something, it would have energized the Latino vote and drawn a clear distinction with the Republicans," she said.


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With November's midterm elections looming and control of the Senate at stake, Democrats are facing a tough obstacle - how to get their voters to show up at the polls.
midterms, voter turnout, GOP, Dems
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2014-16-13
Monday, 13 Oct 2014 11:16 AM
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