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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

No ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ With Key Obama Constituencies

The much-trumpeted ‘turnout gap’ favoring the GOP turns out to be more illusion than reality regarding key pro-Democratic constituencies, according to a new survey reported by Dean Debnam, CEO of Public Policy Polling (crosstabs here) :

The group of voters most excited about voting this year, tied with the Tea Party, is African Americans. The thought that black voters are going to stay home and let the country’s first black President lose for reelection because everything hasn’t gone perfect is wishful thinking on the part of Republicans. I will be surprised if there is any dropoff in turnout from African Americans this year.

As for another key Obama constituency, young voters, Debnam adds:

The group tied for the third most excited out of the 18 we looked at here? Young voters. And when you take a deeper look at the folks under 30 who say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting this fall, they support Obama by a 69-31 margin over a generic Republican opponent. Those folks are going to be out again this fall as well.

But Republicans do have an overall edge, though it’s not insurmountable, Debnam cautions:

There’s plenty of good news for Republicans on the enthusiasm front as well. Tea Partiers tie with African Americans for the highest level of enthusiasm. There are more Republicans (54%) who are ‘very excited’ about voting than Democrats (49%).

As Debnam concludes:

The desire to dump Obama may give GOP voters more of an incentive to get out to the polls than they had in 2008. But it’s kind of a given that Republicans come out and vote. Democratic constituencies tend to be the harder ones to engage and mobilize. But as much speculation as there’s been that they won’t be there for Obama this fall the way they were in 2008, our numbers disagree. If the GOP wins it’ll because they flipped independents and brought back out dormant 2008 voters, not because the Obama coalition stayed at home.

In other words, Republicans counting on a limp turnout of African Americans and young voters this year are very likely to be disappointed.

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