U.S. Voters Blasé over Next Election and Expect More from Local Activism than from Their President

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
(AP photo)

American voters aren’t too excited about the upcoming midterm election, and don’t seem to think the occupant of the White House has much effect on what happens to the country.

 

A new Gallup survey shows voter enthusiasm for the November election is lower than it’s been for a midterm election in 20 years. Only 35% of respondents said they were more enthusiastic about this midterm than others, while 53% characterized themselves as being less enthusiastic.

 

Excitement for the election is higher among Republicans, who are hungry at the prospect of regaining full control of Congress if they take back the Senate. But even with this possibility on the horizon, GOP and conservative-leaning voters still have an 8-point enthusiasm deficit (50% are less enthusiastic versus 42% being more enthusiastic).

 

But the Republicans’ enthusiasm deficit puts them in a much stronger position this fall than Democrats—who are experiencing a 23-point deficit (55% ho-hum, 32% psyched).

“Typically, the party whose supporters have an advantage in enthusiasm has done better in midterm elections. Republicans had decided advantages in enthusiasm in 1994, 2002, and especially 2010—years in which they won control of the House of Representatives or expanded on their existing majority. Democrats had the advantage in 2006, the year they won control of the House,” Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones reported.

 

These days, election talk also involves the 2016 presidential race. But most Americans don’t seem to be putting much stock into who wins.

 

A new Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll shows 56% of respondents feel more community activism would have “a more positive impact on [their] day-to-day life” than electing a president who agrees with them on important issues. Only 39% said the election of a particular president would have a greater impact.

 

A breakdown of responses revealed Republicans value the importance of who gets elected to the White House more than Democrats, by 53% to 34%.

 

Meanwhile, young people really have turned off from presidential politics—73% believe volunteering will do more good than choosing the next president.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

2014 Poll: Voter Enthusiasm Sinks (by Jonathan Topaz, Politico)

Voter Enthusiasm Down Sharply From 2010 (by Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup)

Who Will Be the Next President? Who Cares (by Nancy Cook, National Journal)

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