Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Could unenthused voters doom Democrats in November?

Democrats have a huge enthusiasm gap problem, according to a Pew survey out Thursday. In the poll, 45 percent of Republican voters say they are more psyched than usual to back the GOP candidate in their districts; among Democratic voters, that total is just 37 percent.

The split isn't quite as pronounced as the one Pew found in 2010, when Republicans held a 55 percent to 42 percent edge in voter enthusiasm. But the gap still shows the challenge Democrats face in exciting their base and getting them to the polls.

More troubling news for Dems, from Pew:

Barack Obama is as powerful a motivating factor for Republican voters as he was in 2010: about half (51 percent) of those who say they will vote Republican this fall consider their vote as a vote "against" Obama, little changed from June 2010 (52 percent). And Obama has become a less positive factor for Democrats — 36 percent of those who plan to vote for the Democrat in their district view their vote as being "for" Obama, down from 44 percent four years ago. [Pew]

So to recap: Republicans are more excited than Democrats to vote, and President Obama's unpopularity is a contributing factor. Probably not a good sign for Democrats, then, that the president's approval rating has slumped back to the low 40s in recent weeks, per Gallup.