Republicans and Democrats may end up spending a record $4 billion this year on campaign ads and get-out-the-vote efforts to rally their base - but that hasn’t changed sparked voter enthusiasm.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll published Wednesday shows that there is actually less voter interest in the 2014 midterm election than there was in the 2010 and 2006 off-year elections.
Just 68 percent of those surveyed said they are following the election closely and 65 percent said they are certain to vote. That contrasts with 76 percent who said they were closely focusing on the campaign in late October 2010 and 71 percent who said they were certain to vote in the election.
It’s possible – indeed likely - that voters in key battleground states in the South and West are simply fed up with the saturation TV and radio political ads and political carping by the two parties in the critical race for control of the Senate. Americans by 2-1 said in the poll that the candidates in their congressional district have been mainly attacking each other rather than discussing the issues. The remaining quarter has no opinion, suggesting they’ve just tuned it all out, according to the analysis.
The poll also suggests that the political campaigns are relying far more than in the past on the air war to rally their base than old-fashioned get-out-the-vote efforts.
According to the Post-ABC News survey, “Just 22 percent of voters say they have been contacted by an individual or organization regarding the congressional campaign, 12 percentage points lower than at this time four years ago.”
Still, the tide appears to be moving in the GOP’s direction, with rank and file Republicans appearing to have more enthusiasm about voting, based on those who say they are certain to vote in the election – or who already have taken advantage of early voting.
With only days remaining before the Nov. 4 election, Republicans continue to benefit from the public’s widespread dissatisfaction with President Obama’s leadership, the direction of the country and the federal government’s ability to cope with problems, the survey found.
The poll showed that by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin, voters say they will vote for a Republican candidate for the House, suggesting that the Republicans may add a few more seats to their majority. The poll is far less predictive of whether the GOP will succeed in picking up the six seats they will need to regain control of the Senate in January.
“In nine states with competitive Senate races, 57 percent of voters express a preference for Republicans in the House elections, compared with 39 percent for Democrats,” according to the Post.
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