Today, 51% of voters say they have given a lot of thought to this November's election, up from 45% at this point in 2002 and 42% in early October of 1998. Even in 1994 a recent high in midterm election turnout just 44% of voters had thought a lot about the election in early October.The difference appears to be due to increased enthusiasm among Democratic voters.
Currently, 59% of Democratic voters say they have given a lot of thought to this election, up from 46% at this point in the 2002 election. Republicans, by comparison, are no more or less engaged this year than four years ago (48% now, 47% in 2002). Democrats are also far more excited about voting this year, with 51% saying they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, up from 40% in 2002. Just a third of Republicans say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, down from 44% four years ago.Specifically, 51% of Democrats are enthusiastic about this year's midterm elections; only 33% of Republicans described themselves as enthusiastic. In addition, this enthusiasm is evident in likely voters as well as registered voters. And it predates the Foley fiasco.
This entusiasm is fueled by widespread displeasure with both the Bush administration and the GOP-controlled Congress.
To wit, a CNN poll released today shows that Americans think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans handling the war in Iraq, 51%-34%, and a better job hadling the war on terror, 44%-40%, 52% think the President should fire Defense Secretary Rumsfeld; and a USAToday/Gallup poll indicates that fully two-thirds of Americans -- 66% -- disapprove of George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq war,