Sunday, July 13, 2008

A “tied” race and “the enthusiasm gap:”

Both Gallup and Rasmussen poll findings now show the race between Sens. McCain and Obama a statistical tie.

That will change many times between now and November. One factor that'll influence those changes and the final citizens’ vote that matters most concerns “the enthusiasm gap.”

Here’s some of what Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard has to say about it. My comments follow below the star line.

… Then McCain grew serious. "I have to say, and I don't mean to disappoint you, but I haven't changed positions." He defended his vote against the Bush tax cuts and, at some length, reiterated his concerns about global warming.

Later, he went out of his way to emphasize his respect for Hillary Clinton and boast about his work with Democrats Joe Lieberman, Russ Feingold, and Ted Kennedy.

This is McCain being McCain. He clearly believes that bipartisanship is among the highest virtues of political life. But it also reflects the campaign's strategic attempt to position McCain as a centrist in order to win the votes of independents and even some Democrats.

There are risks to this strategy and the enthusiasm gap is chief among them.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll last month found that nearly half of the liberals surveyed are enthusiastic about supporting Barack Obama, while only 13 percent of conservatives are enthusiastic about McCain. More generally, 91 percent of self-identified Obama supporters are "enthusiastic" about their candidate; 54 percent say they are "very enthusiastic." Seventy-three percent of such McCain supporters say they are "enthusiastic" about his candidacy, but only 17 percent say they are "very enthusiastic."

A USA Today/Gallup poll reported similar findings last week. That survey shows that while 67 percent of Barack Obama's supporters are "more excited than usual about voting" for their candidate, only 31 percent of John McCain's supporters can say the same thing.

More troubling for the McCain campaign is that more than half of those who identified themselves as McCain backers--54 percent--say they are "less excited than usual" about their candidate.

It is not surprising that conservatives are not warming to a candidate who likes to talk about climate change and government subsidies for displaced workers. But this coldness is increasingly alarming to some McCain backers. They believe that all of McCain's efforts to win over Democrats and independents can only pay off if he is able to get conservatives to turn out to vote for him in November. …

Hayes’ entire article’s here.


I think Sen. McCain can overcome “the enthusiasm gap” and rally conservatives because, among other things, he’s sure to get a “helping hand” from Sen. Obama and some of his surrogates, such as Gen. Wes Clark.

Can conservatives (or anyone for that matter) really be sure of what Obama’s true position is on FISA legislation he first promised to filibuster and then voted for?
When Clark and others denigrate McCain’s military service, they only help him with conservatives.

As Election Day draws nearer, Obama’s shifting and contradictory pronouncements on the war in Iraq, his lack of experience, his close, long-time associations with racists and far left anti-Americans, and whom he might appointment as federal judges will loom large with conservatives.

McCain has a good chance of at least shrinking “the enthusiasm gap” among conservatives, without having to do anything which could cost him support among Reagan Democrats and Independents.

Back to those Gallup and Rasmussen polls.

Suppose there isn’t much voter attitude change between now and November; or that what changes there are for each candidate tend to cancel each other in terms of benefiting either candidate except among conservatives, who by election day are markedly more enthusiastic for McCain.

In that case, the pundits now thinking how they’ll report “President-elect Obama’s historic victory” may have to do quick rewrites come Election Night.

Hat tip:


Anonymous said...

I generally despise McCain's non-military politics. And he's the worst possible Republican candidate out there from the standpoint of a conservative.

But he's 100x more preferable than BHO.

I don't have to be enthusiastic about "The Mav" to vote for him or against BHO.


Anonymous said...

In my view, McCain has done absolutely nothing to sell potential voters on his candidacy. Sure, he's put out positions on issues, but candidates have to "reach out and touch" the voters to build enthusiasm. What do I have to get enthusiastic about? That McCain will write another unconstitutional law with another arch-leftist senator, or will cozy up to Teddy Kennedy again? I'm sorry, but I can't get enthusiastic about McCain except for the fact that he's NOT Mr. Obama. If the supremes hadn't ruled on the second amendment, that issue alone could cause a surge in McCain votes, but that is no longer an issue impacted by future SCOTUS appointments, so what do we have to get really excited about?
Tarheel Hawkeye

Archer05 said...

I can’t believe we ended up with the choice of
Tweedely Dumb or Tweedely Dumber-
once again!

Anonymous said...

@ Archer

I can't believe we are expected to be fired up over an election that has been waged for all these years and has come down to an old flipper and a younger flipper. I can't believe people actually bother to talk to pollsters anymore, don't they know this is just a ploy to get their email address for SPAM?

How about a new poll that asks the really important questions we don't know the answers to yet?

Suggested poll questions:

Would you rather see actual acrobats on TV for a change instead of the presumed DemoRepublicrat nominees for president?

Is anyone else running for president of the United States this year? (Yes or No)

Would you rather see the nominees for Miss America on all of the important shill "news" TV productions, rather that the prune faced spokesmen for the RepubliDemiKin flops ?

Do you believe we should go to war with any country 79% of the American people cannot find on a world map?

Given your choices for any office, would you vote for the younger better looking one or for the older less attractive more "actuarially challenged" one?

Depending on the nominee for vice president, is being "actuarially challenged" an asset or a liability?

Akira Kurosawa stole John Struges' plot for "The Magnificent Seven" and released his "The Seven Samurai" six years earlier. Should the US government
A. Bomb
B. Blockade
C. Set up trade sanctions
D. Sue
E. All of the above

What effect do you believe your vote will have on the election?
A. Zero
B. None
C. Zilch
D. All of the above.

What color is the album in which you proudly save all of your League of Women Voters "I VOTED!" stickers?

When you go to the poll do you wear boxers or briefs?