Inflation, gas prices, and supply chain issues are weighing heavily on many Americans’s lives each week that passes. Now recent polling from Gallup shows that this summer, more voters are thinking about the midterms than have at this point in previous cycles.
Traditionally, Americans begin thinking more about elections closer to Labor Day, but don’t pay much attention in summer’s dog days. Of the five summers before midterms where that number was measured, today 48% of Americans who are thinking about the upcoming midterm election is the highest number recorded. Only 17% of Americans were thinking about the midterms the summer of 1998; 23% at this point in 2002; 37% at this point in 2006; 34% in 2010; and 31% in 2014 (no number is available for 2018).
Today, the number of voters tuning in to the Nov. Midterm correlates with the number who are more enthusiastic about this election than previous elections. While 48% of Americans are thinking about the midterms, 50% of Americans are more enthusiastic about voting in this this election than previous elections. This enthusiasm number is likely to grow. Looking at the summer of 2014, for example, 31% of voters were thinking about the midterms and at the campaign’s end, 40% ended up being more enthusiastic about voting. With enthusiasm already at 50% today, we can expect that number to get above 60% by Election Day.
Voters are giving a great deal more thought to their choices than they have in past years because the outcome will so strongly impact their everyday lives. Republicans have a well-tested and winning message and the generic ballot shows Americans still lean that way. The size of their victory depends on whether Republicans keep discussing issues that voters – especially independents and swing voters – care about and avoid side issues that divert attention from making this election a referendum on the Biden administration.