Recent Pennsylvania polling from Franklin and Marshall College gives even more reason for Republicans, especially those concerned with control of the House of Representatives, to be anxious about the upcoming midterm elections.
“[M]ore Democrats (60%) than Republicans (53%) or independents (33%) say they are ‘very interested.’ At the moment, both Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey hold comfortable leads against their Republican challengers, but a large portion of voters, notably Republicans and independents, are undecided in those races. Neither Republican candidate is well known yet among voters. At the moment, Democrats have an advantage in voter interest and turnout.”
Going into the crucial election home stretch between Labor Day and Election Day, Republicans are dealing with a considerable enthusiasm gap in a key battleground state that recently had its election maps redrawn. That’s bad news for the GOP.
The big challenge in what’s expected to be a turnout election like this one has always been trying to generate GOP voter enthusiasm that outmatches the Democratic voter anger expected from the combination of being the party out of power and the multiplying factor of being the party out of power under President Donald Trump.
The one caveat here is that the numbers are based on registered voters, which makes them less reliable than one based on likely voters. But despite that caveat and all the caveats about the reliability of polling in the Trump era in general, these numbers give credence to a lot of the concerns about how the GOP will perform this election cycle.
Now congressional Republicans have only a couple of months to close the enthusiasm gap; the question is whether they’ll get to work on issues that could energize their base and save their bacon (like these immigration proposals from Daniel Horowitz) or continue to try to coast into keeping their majority on tax cuts and judge confirmations alone.