Voter enthusiasm ahead of November’s elections is firmly on the side of the Republican Party, a familiar trouble sign for Democrats ahead of midterm elections.
According to a new Public Religion Research Institute survey, 78% of self-identified Republican voters said they will definitely vote in November. This figure includes a whopping 86% of respondents who identified with the Tea Party. Meanwhile, only 57% of Democrats are definitely casting a ballot in the midterm elections.
This enthusiasm gap helps Republicans gain an advantage over their Democratic counterparts with five months remaining before the midterms. By a 45-37 margin, all registered voters prefer a generic Democratic candidate over a generic Republican. However, among voters who say they are “absolutely certain” to vote, Republicans have a 44-41 edge.
For Democrats, the warning signs continue to pile up, as they look to hold onto control of the U.S. Senate. Polls have continually shown Democratic vulnerability because of the unpopularity of President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act, as well as generic dissatisfaction with the state of the economy.
However, the PRRI poll also has some good news for Democrats. Pollsters found broad, bipartisan support for immigration reform, which Democrats have pushed for.
Overall, more than six in 10 voters say they support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship (including 51% of Republicans) and 53% of voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes immigration reform. Democrats have a 13-point edge on the question of which party is trusted more to handle immigration issues. It’s unclear from the poll, however, as to how big of a motivating factor immigration will be for voters going to the polls.
Here’s a chart showing the enthusiasm gap:
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