Enthusiasm among Democrats to voting in the presidential election is slipping, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll
The survey shows that only 39 percent of Democrats and those who lean Democratic are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual" in the race between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. That compares with 61 percent in 2008 and 68 percent in 2004, when Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was running against President George W. Bush.
Those numbers obviously aren’t good for Obama, and it gets worse. Among Republicans and those who lean Republican, 51 percent are more enthusiastic about voting. That’s up from 38 percent in 2008 and unchanged from 2004.
“The Republican advantage may indicate a greater likelihood of voting among Republicans, but also greater optimism about a Republican victory than was the case in 2008,” writes Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones. “In turn, Democrats are probably less optimistic about their chances of winning than they were in 2008.”
The portion of overall voters who are more enthusiastic about voting than usual has slipped to 44 percent from 48 percent in 2008 and 59 percent in 2004.
“With voter enthusiasm down significantly from 2004 and 2008 levels, it is reasonable to expect that turnout will be lower this presidential election than in the last two elections, both of which had above-average turnout,” Jones writes.
“Republicans' greater enthusiasm about voting is a troubling sign for the Obama campaign, especially given the fact that registered voters are essentially tied in their presidential voting preferences, and that Republicans historically vote at higher rates than Democrats do.”
To be sure, it may just be that Democrats are depressed by the prospects of an Obama defeat and will still vote in large numbers, Jones says.
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