Donald Trump

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

 

Coming off the 2018 drubbing the GOP took in House races, some things started to change. Perhaps more people woke up and realized that the sham Mueller investigation was nothing more nor less than a coup attempt by parts of the FBI and Intelligence Community working as Stumabteilungen for the Democrat party. Perhaps some came to the realization that the Kavanaugh hearing was a foreshadowing of how conservative men were going to be treated in the future. Many, I think, realized that nothing would make the Democrats happier than turning us into some kind of Third World sh**hole where down was up and we had to called bearded creatures with a package “her.”

If February, a new poll was released that completely blew up the prevailing conventional wisdom about voter enthusiasm:

A new survey his company, the Tarrance Group, conducted for the centrist Republican Ripon Society uncovered an 11-point “intensity” gap among white Republicans and white Democrats.

“We had in 2010 a nine-point advantage on intensity. Going into 2014 we had a seven-point advantage on intensity, meaning our voters are more intense about voting. Right now we have an 11-point advantage,” he said. “I’ve never seen a double-digit advantage in terms of intensity to vote.”

In 2010, Republicans took control of the House. In 2014, they took over the Senate.

“Why is it 11? It’s intensity toward the president,” he explained.

A deeper plunge into the numbers, Goeas said, is even more remarkable.

For example, Republican women, who typically don’t express voting eagerness in levels as high as men, are equal for the first time, at 89 percent, he said. What’s more, on the issue of intensity, they are just three points back.

“Not only is there no gender gap, there’s no intensity gap with Republicans wanting to vote Republican this year, all driven by the president,” the strategist said.

Now a new one is out from CNN and it builds on the February poll in a way that should scare the bejeezus out of the Democrats. This is the top line. Voters today are nearly 20 points more enthusiastic about voting for president than the were in 2008 when the bloom was still on the Obama rose.

Currently 88 percent of registered voters responding to the poll in question are enthusiastic in varying degrees about voting in the 2020 presidential election; only 11 percent are not. Of the enthused super-majority, 47 percent describe themselves as extremely enthusiastic and 24 percent as very enthusiastic. Taking the “extremely” and “very” enthusiastic voters together, that’s 71 percent currently. In late October 2016, the comparable number was 46 percent (though in September 2015 it was a bit higher at 55 percent, indicating that a decent number of voters weren’t happy with the general-election options; usually enthusiasm goes up as an election approaches). At this point in the 2012 cycle, 51 percent of voters described themselves as “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic.

For me the recent benchmark of voter enthusiasm was the 2008 election that lifted Barack Obama to the presidency (I will never forget the citywide street celebration that broke out in Washington the minute he was forecast as the winner). Just before that election, 37 percent of registered voters said they were “extremely” enthusiastic about voting, with 32 percent “very” enthusiastic. That’s right: More than a year out, we’re at or above 2008 levels of voter enthusiasm. And the percentage of extremely enthusiastic folks is a lot higher.

CNN’s cross-tabs break down the enthusiasm numbers in all sorts of ways, but here’s the one that matters most: 79 percent of registered voters who give Trump a positive job-approval rating are either “extremely” (53 percent) or “very” (26 percent) enthusiastic about voting in 2020. Among registered voters who disapprove of Trump, 66 percent are “extremely” (43 percent) or “very” (23 percent) enthused. All the other cross-tabs tell a similar story: White folks are more enthusiastic about voting than nonwhite folks; old folks are more psyched than young folks; Republicans are more whipped up than Democrats.

This is how Politico frames it:

In a late-October 2016 poll, when the question was asked just before then-candidate Donald Trump’s victory, 26 percent said they were extremely enthusiastic, and 20 percent were very enthusiastic. A poll taken days ahead of the 2008 election, which had the highest turnout (as a percentage of voting-eligible population) this century, saw 37 percent say they were extremely enthusiastic, and 32 percent say they were very enthusiastic.

Digging into the crosstabs shows a slight enthusiasm gap in favor of Republicans: 76 percent of voters who lean Republican said they’re either extremely or very enthusiastic, while 69 percent of Democratic leaners answered the same. (892 registered voters; Oct. 17-20; +/- 4.0 percentage points MOE).

Another way of saying that is that the voter segments with the highest turnout rate are the most likely to vote.

I think this enthusiasm will only be more locked in by the time the election takes place. It is hard to see any outcome of the “impeachment” charade (absent a removal of President Trump) likely to dampen GOP enthusiasm. I think we’re beginning to see the Pelosi-Schiff process transform even Trump skeptics into broken glass voters. If impeachment doesn’t happen, then you will see a lot of wind go out of Democrat enthusiasm. I suspect we’ll see at least one more Supreme Court nomination before Election Day. That fight, particularly if the the battleground is over religious freedom as it will be if Amy Coney Barrett is the nominee, is going to further excite the Republican base.

Nothing in politics is sure, but right now the enthusiasm is running in our direction in numbers higher that 2010, 2014, and 2016.

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