On the day that Americans go to the polls, Gallup has published its very last set of data on voter enthusiasm. The verdict? Record smashing Republican enthusiasm. If these numbers pan out during voting today, Republicans could be handing Barack Obama a butt whipping that are in line with even our most rabidly optimistic predictions.
There’s a little good news in there for Democrats. They’re also expected to get some fairly good turnout numbers. Second best at 44% but well behind their numbers from 2006, when they peaked at 53%. But that’s where the good news stops, ladies and gentlemen.
The record level of overall enthusiasm is primarily the result of Republicans’ heightened excitement — 63% of Republicans (including Republican-leaning independents) say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting. That not only greatly exceeds Democrats’ expressed enthusiasm this year, but also is substantially higher than what Gallup has measured for either party’s supporters on the eve of a midterm election.
The high level of Republican enthusiasm has led to the largest gap in enthusiasm by party of any recent midterm elections, 19 percentage points. The prior highs were nine points in favor of the Democrats in 2006, and nine points in favor of the Republicans in 1994.
The party with the advantage in enthusiasm has won the greater share of the national congressional vote, and gained seats in the House, each election year since Gallup began tracking voter enthusiasm in 1994.
Here’s a snapshot of the “enthusiasm gap” as measured by Gallup in the last five midterm elections. Nineteen points is unprecedented. It would be a mistake to try to correlate the enthusiasm gaps measured versus the number of seats that swung in each election, and then use the correlation to predict the landscape come tomorrow morning. Why? Because the 2010 numbers are off the charts.
The White House has announced a 1:00 pm EDT news conference tomorrow. No word yet if John Boehner will attend, or if he’ll have a short, flat wooden object in his hands.