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What Gallup *didn’t* do with their enthusiasm poll.

And they *should* have done this, too.

Gallup just published a poll on voter enthusiasm, broken down by age. The main point – younger voters are showing fairly typical enthusiasm levels towards the 2010 elections (i.e., low ones) – is interesting (and entertaining), but there’s another important bit that did not get particularly addressed. And it’s an even more entertaining point.

Gallup provided one chart showing how voter preferences in the 2010 midterms broke down by age, with the following results:

Age % Dem % Rep
18 to 29 51 39
30 to 49 44 46
50 to 64 45 47
65+ 41 50

…and while Gallup accurately noted that the numbers for under-30 year olds are better for the Democrats than for any other age group the polling organization somehow completely neglected to make any sort of historical comparison.  It might have been interesting, for example, if Gallup had compared these numbers to its survey of the 2008 exit polling data

Age Obama McCain
Under 30 years 61 39
30 to 49 years 53 47
50 to 64 years 54 46
65 and older 46 54
50 and older 51 49

Yes. Very interesting.  For one thing, Gallup would have been able to suggest that there was some indication that GOP voter enthusiasm remains more or less unchecked from 2010, while Democratic enthusiasm has declined across the board.  And that the Democrats’ problem is not that the youth vote is less enthusiastic about voting against Republican candidates: it’s that their support from voters between 30 and 64 has apparently taken similar nosedives.  And that over-65 voters appear even more ready to vote Republican this go-round.  All of these things would have made for an improved article… which would have challenged Gallup’s assumption that the Democrats are correct to concentrate on the 2010 youth vote in the first place.

That’s starting to look like a dubious assumption.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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