Republican voters are paying more attention than Democrats to the election issues that will drive turnout on Nov. 4, and they are also more likely to vote, the Pew Research Center reported on Friday.
Republicans are 15 percent more likely than Democrats to say they've given "quite a lot" of thought to the upcoming contests and 12 percent more likely to say they "definitely" will vote, according to the Pew survey,
conducted Sept. 2-9, of 2,002 adults including 1,552 registered voters.
"GOP voters also express more enthusiasm for voting in the upcoming midterm than their Democratic counterparts," Pew reported.
The Pew findings place Republicans on the winning side of the so-called "enthusiasm gap" ahead of elections that could tip the U.S. Senate to GOP control — if Republicans pick up six seats — and leave an increasingly unpopular Democratic president
facing hostile majorities in both chambers.
Pew reported that the enthusiasm gap is not as tilted toward Republicans as it was ahead the 2010 midterm elections, in which the nascent tea-party movement fueled a GOP takeover of the House.
When Pew narrowed its findings to the 1,150 voters considered most likely to go to the polls, 47 percent said they will vote Republican, compared to 44 percent planning to vote Democrat.
"At a comparable stage in 2010, Republicans held a 50%-43% lead among likely voters," Pew reported.
The survey also found that terrorism and the economy rank as key issues for both Republicans and Democrats, but more so in both cases for Republicans.
The poll also indicated that terrorism has risen sharply among voter concerns.
Although Pew canvassed voters before President Barack Obama's speech on Wednesday announcing stepped-up military action against the Islamic State (ISIS), 75 percent of all voters told Pew that combatting terrorism will be "very important" to who they choose, compared to 60 percent who rated terrorism that highly as an issue heading into the 2012 presidential elections.
The poll also found "familiar divisions" over Obamacare by party, according to the summary.
"These partisan differences carry over into the midterm vote preferences," Pew reported.
"[Ninety] percent of registered voters who support the Republican in their district disapprove of the health care law, while 73 percent of those who plan to vote Democratic approve of it."
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