Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Intensity

Here is some more good stuff from the Cook column I talked about yesterday:

It is clear that these issues have taken a toll. RT Strategies, headed by Thom Riehle, a veteran Democratic pollster, and Lance Tarrance, one of the pioneering pollsters on the Republican side, found that when respondents were asked which party they would like to see in control of Congress after these elections, Democrats had an advantage of 11 points among all adults, 48-37 percent, 12 points among registered voters, 49-37 percent, and 17 points among the most likely voters, 53-36 percent.

In the other variation of what has come to be known as the generic congressional ballot test, when people were asked whether they planned on voting for the Democratic candidate for Congress or the Republican, Democrats led by 12 points among adults, 44-32 percent; by 13 points among registered voters, 45-32 percent; and by a whopping 18 points among those most likely to vote, 50-32 percent.

Simply put, there are a lot of Republicans who are showing little interest in this election, which matches a downward trend that has been seen in party identification over the last two years. The two parties are no longer evenly matched.

"Most likely voters" were those who, when asked on a scale of one (low) to 10 (high) how interested they were in the November midterm elections, selected nine or 10. Among all registered voters, 50 percent described their level of interest as 10, but there was a huge discrepancy between the parties, with 54 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of Republicans choosing the highest number. Among independents, 47 percent chose 10. This double-digit intensity disparity between the two parties was also found in the March and April NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls.

Counting those who rated their interest as nine or 10 in our poll, 60 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans qualified as very likely voters; those levels are generally more reflective of a presidential race rather than turnout for a midterm election. If someone was looking for the best possible warning sign of a voter turnout problem for Republicans, the level of interest would be it. These numbers amount to a sharp departure from the last two elections, when Republican voters were more motivated than Democrats, and, in fact, turned out in higher numbers.



Here in New York, where Eliot Spitzer and Hillary Clinton are both going to win in landslides, the intensity problem should be even stronger.

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