News Wrap: Enthusiasm Gap Narrows, Obey Retires

Two big process stories today, in a good news/bad news sort of way for Democrats. The good news is that the latest Gallup poll shows Democrats are catching up to the Republicans in the enthusiasm gap, a number almost if not just as important as the generic ballot. According to Gallup,

Republican registered voters' enthusiasm about voting in this year's midterm elections has declined significantly in recent weeks. As a result, Republicans' advantage over Democrats on this measure has shrunk from 19 points in early April to 10 points in the latest weekly aggregate.

In late March and early April, after Congress' passage of healthcare reform, both Republican and Democratic registered voters became more enthusiastic about voting in this year's elections. Republicans' enthusiasm peaked at 54% "very enthusiastic" in late March and early April, but is 43% in the latest weekly update, from April 27-May 2 -- essentially where it was before healthcare passed. By contrast, Democrats have more or less retained the slightly higher level of enthusiasm they showed right after the healthcare bill milestone.

The specific numbers are 43-33.

The bad news is that House Appropriations Chair David Obey is retiring. According to the Hill, this announcement comes "much to the shock of his colleagues." This is our 18th open seat, compared to 21 open Repub seats. Obey pointed to the death of two former colleagues, Jack Murtha and Charlie Willson, and said he's "bone tired." He is 71 and has been in Congress for 41 years, and is the fourth longest serving member of the House. In the latest National Journal rankings, he was listed as thte 70th most liberal House member, and came in at 21 the previous year.

We should be able to hold this seat, but it won't be easy. His district, the Wisconsin 7th, went to Obama with 56% of the vote, but Kerry only had 51%, and this year the Republicans have a strong candidate in Palin-endorsed district attorney and sportscaster Sean Duffy. At least there's plenty of time to recruit a candidate, with a primary on September 14 and filing deadline on July 13. What's more, First Read claims the Democrats have a deep and strong bench in the district, naming ten potential candidates. The flip side, of course, is that it might help in anti-incumbent year to say hey, two of our top House leaders won't be leaders next year (ex-Chairman Rangel being the other).

Tags: 2010 midterms, WI-07, David Obey, enthusiasm gap, polls (all tags)



Everyone should be enthused!

Geez, the Republicans cut cases are out there ready to clean our clocks then turn back the clock and lazy libs are still sitting around peeing and moaning setting up another '09 redux.   This sucks.

Why let the tbaggers, the birthers, and deathers win?   All we have to do is show up (and donate a few bucks).

by RichardFlatts 2010-05-05 07:53PM | 1 recs
still a chasm...

...if you look at primary turnout in Ohio and Indiana.  In Indiana, GOP turnout was more than 2.5 times higher than Democratic turnout.  In Ohio, noncompetitive GOP primaries still outdrew the Democrats.



by esconded 2010-05-05 09:00PM | 0 recs
poll vs results

Hard to get excited about a poll in the face of real turnout results that spell a decade like low for Dems-- nothing different than what happened in 2009. Still, this has been a long trend, I still believe we could see a shift come the late Summer.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-05-05 10:28PM | 0 recs
RE: poll vs results

I'm not worried about Indiana, where it was obviously Ellsworth. Ohio's a little troubling - but we've got a summer and fall's worth of organizing and GOTV, and as Gallup shows, GOP enthusiasm/likely turnout drops more and more as we move away from the health care debate.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-05-05 10:54PM | 0 recs
What will it take to light a fire under the asses of Dem voters?

If Republicans take Congress, Obama will be impeached.  Do our voters just not care about that? 

by Kent 2010-05-05 10:46PM | 0 recs
RE: What will it take to light a fire under the asses of Dem voters?

A little off-topic, I've had recent surgery but my travel schedule is still an unavoidable requirement. I really need a manservant to 'lift my luggage' and do other chores. Are you available, Kent? I feel drawn to you, somehow, when I red your comments. Kismet?

by QTG 2010-05-06 09:37AM | 0 recs
letting it go

Okay... but look, you said it: Obey's 71. He's been in Congress 41 years. Is there really something wrong with thinking, rather than "oh no", somethingmore like "I think it might be about time to go with some fresh changes in the leadership"? I think the current party-line that Democrats are seling themselves is, in this, inherently problematic: we try to sell a vision of change and fresh approaches to governance as outr calling card... carried on the backs of legislators who've been in their positions for 15, 20 years or more. There's a disconnect here that's really quite fuindamental: if we believe in change, and new ideas... we do, at some point, need to stop looking at the same, old (literally) people and expect a great deal of progress in that regard.

I'm sure David Obey has done some impressive things; I'm also sure that he's one of any number of examples of how Washington has not, fundamentally, adapted to the pressure to change its traditional ways. And even with his retirement, it's likely, realistically, that we will be getting another very senior, very established "old hand" to take his place on Committee. That's the kind of fealty to seniority that, in the long run, isn't doing the "new progressives" many favors in selling the idea that change can happen with the Democrats we have. I think Obey's leaving is fine. And really, we should look further... surely, Charlie Rangel would be a start.

by nycweboy1 2010-05-06 12:27PM | 0 recs


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