Poll: Voters less fired up about midterm elections

A new Gallup poll shows that about half of registered voters in the U.S. say they are less enthusiastic about voting in this year's midterm elections than they were in previous elections, representing a sharp drop from the eagerness to vote in the 2010 midterms.

Fifty-three percent of people surveyed say they are less enthusiastic about voting this fall than they have been in previous midterm elections. Just 35 percent said they were more excited about voting. The numbers are nearly a flip of 2010's voter sentiment, when 52 percent said they were more excited about voting and just 37 percent had less enthusiasm.

There's even a gap for Republicans, despite the possibility of taking back the Senate and putting Congress entirely under GOP control. Just 42 percent of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning voters said they were more enthusiastic than usual, with 50 percent saying they were less enthusiastic.

Democrats had a much larger enthusiasm gap: Just 32 percent are more enthusiastic, and 55 percent are less.

Gallup notes that Republicans benefitted from an enthusiasm advantage in 1994, 2002 and 2010, years when they either won control of the House of Representatives or expanded their existing majority. Still, in each of those years there were a greater percentage of voters more excited about voting than less excited.

The disparity between Democratic and Republican voter excitement echoes a March CBS News poll that found that 70 percent of Republican voters said they were enthusiastic about voting in November, including 27 percent who said they were very enthusiastic, versus just 58 percent of Democrats who said the same. Half of all independents and four in 10 voters overall said they were not excited.

That CBS News poll also found that 81 percent of Republicans said they definitely planned to vote in November, versus just 68 percent of Democrats who gave the same response.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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