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Why the Democrats will get trounced in the midterm election in two graphs





This election is less about national preference, where the two parties are quite closely matched, than about the enthusiasm of the two party's bases. Republicans are eager to vote. Democrats are not.

It's a funny thing: I think if you'd asked Democrats in 2008 whether they'd be excited if their party managed to pull combat troops out of Iraq and pass health-care reform, a massive stimulus bill, and a large financial regulation bill, I think most of them would've said yes. But governing is a terribly depressing exercise, the economy is in bad shape, and the pool of people who like Democrats is smaller than the pool of people who liked Democrats plus the pool of people who were ready for a change after weight years of Bush.


By Ezra Klein  |  September 7, 2010; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms , Charts and Graphs  
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Huh? The generic ballot poll is tied now? That's the first bit of good news I've seen for Democrats in a long time.

Too bad that the voter enthusiasm gap is so huge in favor of the Republicans. They've been itching to punch Obama's teeth out at the pools since Santelli started the whole Tea-Party thing.

Nex year is gonna be one crazy year in politics. Speaker Boehner and President Obama. Hilarity will ensue :D!

Posted by: mezcalero | September 7, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Speaker Boehner and President Obama. Hilarity will ensue :D!"

Better enjoy the thought of it while you can. Because that's not going to happen.

Posted by: slag | September 7, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about other Dems and Independents, but I AM excited about Obama and the Democrats.

In 18 months alone, Obama's accomplished enough to carve his face on a mountain.

And you can be sure that Republicans will try to impeach him if they take the House.

Posted by: paul65 | September 7, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of people may not be in the mood to be excited these days, but are still going to vote.

Posted by: mschol17 | September 7, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

This is depressing. But hopefully Obama can do what Clinton did with a Republican dominated congress. I'm going to do what I can to help get out the vote.

Posted by: ania8 | September 7, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"In 18 months alone, Obama's accomplished enough to carve his face on a mountain."

Whereby Democrats confuse the act of passing legislation that has failed with an accomplishment. Funny, unprecedented deficits, a weak, craven foreign policy and 13 months of 9.5% or better unemployment doesn't merit having your face carved into a mountain, unless it is a mountain of fecal matter.

As for the Gallup poll, it is a registered voter model. Who cares? The enthusiasm gap points to a very significant lead in the LV model of the Generic ballot, which Gallup usually starts putting out after Labor Day. Three recent likely voter polls taken at the same time as the Gallup poll point to the massive losses Mr. Klein references in his headline.

Posted by: Bob65 | September 7, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

"...managed to pull combat troops out of Iraq"

I think you mean "managed to write a press release claiming to pull combat troops out of Iraq, while sending tens of thousands of additional combat troops into Afghanistan and also using killer drones on innocent women and children to avoid being called 'weak' by Republicans," but, hey, what are few lies and the sacrifice of a few hundred innocent lives? It could be worse, couldn't it? Guantanamo could still be open, right?

Posted by: AlanVanneman | September 7, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats have spent almost a year lecturing to their core voters about how ungrateful they are. They spent the entire healthcare debate bragging about their reform's Heritage Foundation roots, they've been quick to discuss benefit cuts, and have pretty much accepted the view that nothing can be done about 10% unemployment. Anyone who has a problem with it is a member of the "Far Left," and therefore worthy of nothing but scorn.

Shockingly, this has not made those voters more enthusiastic...

Posted by: NS12345 | September 7, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the phrase "very enthusiastic" might be a bit misleading. Of course the out-of-power party is going to be more enthusiastic about voting the "bad guys" out. I wouldn't say I was enthusiastic at all to vote this year, certainly not as enthusiastic as I was in 2008, but there's no way in hell I'm not voting. If I can do anything to stop Republicans from controlling congress I'll do it, but that doesn't mean I'm excited about voting for Democrats.

Posted by: DKOSullivan | September 8, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"Weight years of Bush"? Accidental perfection on that typo. Cuz eight years of Bush was, indeed, a huge weight on the world.

Posted by: dognabbit | September 8, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

But nowhere in the graphs or the analysis do I see an adjustment for the fact that there are far fewer registered Republicans than there are registered Democrats, which is significant in two ways:
first, 50% of 2 million is a lot more than 50% of 1 million, so comparing only percentages is misleading; second, does the imbalance in the number of registered voters offset the "enthusiasm gap"? These polls could be entirely meaningless without the comparison.

Posted by: rewriter | September 8, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you AlanVanneman. Come on, Ezra Klein, surely you aren't stupid enough to think we have actually ceased combat operations in Iraq. We still have 50,000 servicemen there! That's some pullout.

Was the stimulus bill "massive"? It didn't turn the economy around. It failed on its own terms, which were to keep unemployment under 8%, so don't tell me how whopping hugely big the stimulus was. And Obama never even considered, for a moment, a larger one.

Same with the banking regulation bill. How much does it really accomplish? None of the offending institutions were broken up into manageable size or forced to change how they did business. In fact I was just reading about how very banker-friendly that bill was. Where did I read that? Oh yeah, here:

Posted by: B405 | September 9, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

It surprises me Ezra how short people's memories are. For 8 years this country got bogged down with two wars, huge tax cuts for those who needed them the least, health care cost going out the window and deregulation of the financial industry that caused the bubble to burst in 2008 in the first place. Two years down the road and Democrats are expecting miracles.

Personally, I think the Democrat party in Congress and President Obama has done a stellar job considering all that they have had to contend with as far as dealing with the "Party of No" on every single piece of legislation they've tried to pass. This includes legislation that the Republican Party was all for until President Obama was for it. Plus all the attacks on President Obama's character; with people from the Right accusing him of not being born in this country. Calling him a communist and a Nazi.

Yet, they've managed to get us some form of health care. They've passed financial reform They've also managed to get us some serious credit card reform. All these things will need some work but they got things done, and not just huge tax cuts for the wealthy which is all that would have come out of a Republican controlled congress.

I also think they have brought us back from the brink. This is of course difficult to prove being that we didn't have to go there.

I just wish the Democrats in Congress would stop acting like wimps and stand up for what they've done. I think it's a proud record, especially with all they've had to contend with.

I'll do my part and get out and vote this coming election and my support will be for "The Party of 'yes'".

Posted by: fidlerten | September 11, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

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