September 30, 2004


The Enthusiasm Gap: Also: The (Other) Great Divides; Poll Vault: A Hurricane Preparedness Tip (Richard Morin and Christopher Muste, September 30, 2004, Washington Post)

Forget the gender gap. The chasm that yawns the widest this election year is the Enthusiasm Gap.

Nearly two in three likely voters who support President Bush -- 65 percent -- said they were "very enthusiastic" about their candidate while 42 percent of Sen. John F. Kerry's supporters express similarly high levels of enthusiasm for their choice, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

That's a 23-point difference in relative excitement. Although the polling record is incomplete for earlier elections, the available data suggest that the enthusiasm gap in the 2000 presidential campaign was negligible, at best.

In an election in which turnout is key, keeping the faithful energized is one of the most critical challenges facing Kerry as he approaches the first presidential debate tonight. Not only must he convince the small number of persuadable voters who currently support Bush to switch their vote, but he also must re-energize his own supporters to ensure that they turn out on Election Day.

While the enthusiasm gap is apparent across most key voting blocks, nowhere is it more striking than in the way that political conservatives, moderates and liberals view their respective choices.

Bush's conservative base is broadly enthusiastic about the president while political liberals are noticeably cooler to Kerry.

And so, after years of stories about Bush's base problems, we get the: "nevermind."

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 30, 2004 8:44 AM

When one goes to Andrew Sullivan, Pat Buchanan, Bob Novak, or Jim Pinkerton for analysis of the base, one may get a bit of a skewed picture. Count me one of the very enthused in the Bush base.

Posted by: Melissa at September 30, 2004 10:22 AM


Sullivan and Buchanan want to be in the driver's seat, and Novak/Pinkerton are upset because Bush doesn't listen to the press. But they will all take the crumbs that fall off the back of the express.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 30, 2004 10:46 AM


Double entendre?

Posted by: oj at September 30, 2004 10:59 AM

For Sullivan, sadly, everything else in the world is subordinate to his desire to have normal people ratify where he decides to place his genitalia.

Buchanan and his merry band of Brown Shirts have long since left the party, much to the party's general rejoicing. The difference between Buchanan and Duke is that Duke generally dresses and coifs better.

Novak is a tedious old marrano and sleazeball, unworthy of attention by serious people.

Pinkerton must be listening to his colleagues at NY Newsday. I guess that's easier than doing your own field work.

I am not displeased with Bush, although I would much prefer McCain. In any event, he's much superior to Ketchup Boy.

Posted by: Bart at September 30, 2004 1:57 PM

I kept looking for a triple, but I couldn't press it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 30, 2004 2:13 PM