Polling News

The 2021 Democratic Enthusiasm Deficit

September 02, 2021

Voter enthusiasm is trending up in the two states with statewide elections this year.  Recent polling in Virginia and New Jersey by Monmouth University shows voter enthusiasm is higher among Republicans than among Democrats in the off-cycle elections.

In Virginia, where a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and control of the House of Delegates are on the ballot, 34% of voters who identify as Republicans say they’re more motivated to vote in this election for Governor than they’ve been in previous elections, along with 57% of Republicans who feel the same level of motivation as in previous elections. Only 21% of Democrats say they’re more motivated today to vote, while 71% felt the same level of enthusiasm as in previous years. Among independents, 25% are more enthusiastic, while 13% are less enthusiastic and 61% maintain the same level of motivation to vote.

In New Jersey, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are on the ballot, and majorities in both houses of the State Legislature are at stake. Thirty-three percent of Republican voters said they’re more enthusiastic, while 55% feel the same level of excitement as in previous years. In this single-party controlled state, only 25% of Democrats feel very motivated to vote, with 63% feeling the same level of motivation as in previous years. A total of 26% of those who are not members of either political party are more motivated to vote, while 67% feel the same motivation as in other elections.

Lagging enthusiasm among Democrats in these two states could be a canary in the coal mine for Democrats in 2022. It comes during one of the worst news cycles Democrats have had in recent years in the aftermath of President Biden’s bungled Afghanistan pullout. A lack of motivation under the Biden Presidency is already on national Democrat’s radar, as they foresee similar problems with enthusiasm in their base in the California recall. A win for Republicans in any of these three Democrat states this year could be a harbinger of enthusiasm deficits to come in the 2022 Midterm Elections. Republicans have an opportunity to take advantage of this but only if they find ways to boost their GOP voter enthusiasm. As always, elections come down to turnout

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