Strong Excitement Deficit Still Afflicts GOP

Throughout this year, polling has quite consistently shown a noticeable excitement deficit afflicting the Republicans, with the GOP base significantly less happy with their pool of presidential candidates and generally dour on politics than the Democratic base. The latest polling from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal only confirms this trend.

On the generic presidential ballot question the Democrats still hold rather large leads, both overall and in terms of hard support. Fully 49 percent of Americans favor a Democratic candidate in 2008, 39 percent strongly, while just 31 percent favor a Republican candidate with just 25 percent doing so strongly. Certainly this is not an indication that the Democrats are destined to win the presidential election by an 18-point margin. On the same token, such a margin in the popular vote is not impossible either, having been achieved six times during the 20th century, most recently by Ronald Reagan in 1984 and most recently by a Democrat by Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Realistically, though, these numbers point to two things: Independents are identifying with the Democrats by a greater rate than almost any other point in recent memory and the Republicans just aren't sold on their own party. To this second point, the NBC/Journal survey provides further evidence, notably in the form of poll questions on satisfaction with the respective party's cadre of candidates. The vast majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents -- 78 percent -- say that they are satisfied with their choices for their party's nomination, while just 13 percent say they are dissatisfied. On the Republican side, however, just 53 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents -- down three points in the last month -- say they are satisfied with their candidates while 33 percent -- up 7 points from last month -- say they are dissatisfied. Though this set of numbers is no doubt at least somewhat a result of the fact that Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich have not yet entered the race, the great difference between Democrats' satisfaction and that of Republicans still points to an excitement gap that could make it extremely difficult for the Republicans to hold on to the White House in 2008 or even pick up seats in Congress.

Tags: 2008, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

this feels right to me

I'm the first to admit that I do not talk to a lot of Republicans often. But the few I have talked to recently are really not excited about any of the presidential candidates. A personal trainer I know, who works with a lot of wealthy Republicans, has the same impression.

Most undecided Democrats are undecided because there are multiple candidates they like a lot.

by desmoinesdem 2007-04-27 11:02AM | 0 recs
Re: this feels right to me

Yes, that's very much the impression I've been getting. Republican friends have been grousing about their field. Democratic friends are either trying to decide between more than one candidate they like, or else are really excited by one candidate and running around trying to talk everyone else into their corner.

My dad tried to sell me on Obama the other day. It didn't change my mind (I still lean Edwards) but you know, I like Obama. A lot. I could get excited about him becoming the president. And what the heck, it's good to see my dad so excited by a politician. He's usually all cynical about this all.

I'd like to see a poll where they get favorability ratings on all the candidates, and then see what percentage of people feel very favorably about MORE than one candidate. Among my circle of friends, I'd say more than half of Democrats are in that situation (probably 75% if you were to count Gore as one of their options.) I've yet to hear a Republican say he likes more than one of the potentials, even if you count Fred Thompson. (Does anyone in the real world like Newt? I've never even heard his name come up outside of blogs.)

by tjekanefir 2007-04-27 12:07PM | 0 recs

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