It was hard to avoid discussion of the "enthusiasm gap" in 2010, when excitement among Republican voters easily trumped Democratic zeal, en route to major GOP gains in the midterm cycle.
As attention shifts to the 2012 cycle, the Republican advantage seems to have largely disappeared. In fact, a new report from Public Policy Polling suggests it's Democrats who enjoy the enthusiasm edge.
...Democrats are now more excited about voting this fall than Republicans are, reversing the enthusiasm gap that plagued the party in 2010.Our last national survey for Daily Kos found that 58% of Democrats were 'very excited' about voting this fall, compared to 54% of Republicans. Six months ago the figures were 48% of Democrats 'very excited' and Republicans at the same 54%. Generally you would expect voters to get more excited as the election gets nearer. That trend is occurring on the Democratic side, but not for the GOP.
Here's that breakdown in chart form:
Also note how this dovetails with the turnout troubles Republicans have had for nearly all of their presidential nominating contests thus far.
Taken together, the wave of excitement GOP officials hoped to ride to 2012 triumphs not only appears to have crested; it seems to now be moving in the opposite direction. Democratic voters, meanwhile, appear to be increasingly eager to vote after having gotten a good look at the GOP presidential contenders.