Here are two words you're going to hear a lot of in the next couple months: voter enthusiasm. Simply put, polls show Republican voters are super-extra-with-sugar-on-top excited to cast their protest votes against President Obama and his socialist cronies this November while Democrats are -- to put it mildly -- a lot less jazzed about casting a vote for the team currently in charge.
Read More →
The split has come to define the polling of the cycle. Generic ballot polling of registered voters -- that is, everyone who could vote on election day -- has shown the electorate to be essentially split, with half favoring Democratic control of Congress and half welcoming the reign of Speaker Boehner. When likely voters (the group who theoretically will turn out in the end) are asked how they're going to vote, Republicans leap out to a big lead.
For example, in a recent NBC/WSJ poll, the parties were split at 43% support when all adults surveyed were asked who they'd rather see in control of Congress next year. But when likely voters were asked the same question, the GOP took a nine-point lead. Polling from other firms this year has shown a similar result.
"We have two ways of looking at the enthusiasm gap: measuring whether voters are very, somewhat, or not at all excited about voting this fall, and then a step beyond that looking at how they voted for President in 2008," Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen told me when I asked him to explain how screenings of likely voters work. "We're consistently finding that very excited voters are going strongly toward the GOP while somewhat and not at all excited voters are supporting Democrats."