Americans are paying more attention than usual to the November congressional elections at this stage of the campaign and are communicating above-average enthusiasm about casting their ballot, a recent Gallup Poll found. The economy, gun control, and abortion are also figuring prominently in determining who gets their vote.
According to the survey, nearly half of U.S. adults have given "quite a lot" of thought to this year’s midterm elections. According to Gallup, no more than 37% said the same thing in the summer months prior to the 1998 through 2014 midterm elections.
Public thought about midterm elections increases by seven to 27 percentage points between the summer and fall of election years, according to Gallup’s election year polls since 1998. If the pattern continues, Americans’ interest in the midterm elections this fall could surpass the previous high of 55% in October 2010.
Half of Americans say they are "more enthusiastic than usual" about voting, compared to previous elections, while 43% report they are less enthusiastic and 7% are as enthusiastic as in the past, the poll found.
The 50% who feel more enthusiastic about voting is on the high end of the trend, though it was lower than the 64% measured in October 2018 and tied with the level found in October 2010.
According to Gallup, voting enthusiasm was fairly low from 1994 to 2002, with 37% or 38% feeling more enthusiastic then. Numbers have generally varied between 46% and 64% since then, with an outlier of 40% in 2014.
Republicans’ enthusiasm outpaced Democrats’ in midterm years when the GOP won a sizeable number of seats in Congress — namely, 1994, 2010, and 2014. Democrats saw substantial seat gains in 2006 when Democrat voter enthusiasm topped Republican enthusiasm.
Republicans had a 10-point advantage over Democrats in the poll.
When party enthusiasm was equally high among both parties in 2018, however, Democrats saw significant gains.
Coupled with several national mood indicators that are highly favorable for Republicans, the GOP’s 10-point enthusiasm advantage this year bodes well for the party, Gallup said.
The polling company noted that these measurements were taken before the Supreme Court’s end-of-term decisions that may motivate Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents to vote in reaction.
The survey also asked respondents to rate how important several issues will be to their vote for Congress.
According to the poll, an overwhelming 85% majority say the economy is important to their vote, including 53% who say it is extremely important, and 32% who say it is very important.
Gun policy isn’t far behind the economy when it comes to its importance to voters, with 52% saying it’s extremely important and 28% saying it’s very important.
The poll was conducted June 1-20 and surveyed 1,015 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
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