If I were the Kasich-Taylor campaign, I’d be freaking out about this conclusion in the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal:
In Ohio in the 2008 presidential election, early voting was used by 40% of voters in Cuyahoga County, which went overwhelmingly for President Barack Obama.
By contrast, 25% of voters in Warren County, which was solidly behind Republican John McCain, voted early. The same trends appear to be continuing this year.
Meanwhile, the Ohio Poll explains in the Columbus Dispatch why it changed it’s likely voter model to suggest more of a GOP-heavy turnout:
“This snapshot shows increased momentum on the side of Republican candidates as a result of increased engagement by Republican voters," said Eric Rademacher, co-director of the poll and a University of Cincinnati political science professor.
"Right now, our polling suggests that lower energy may lead to lower turnout among Democrats – and that includes those who never vote in primaries but always vote in general elections."
The poll found that 45 percent of Republicans are "extremely interested" in the election, compared with 29 percent of Democrats.
However, then Rademacher says something that contradicts the “enthusiasm gap” narrative:
And 79 percent of Republicans will "definitely vote" on Election Day vs. 74 percent of Democrats.
That means that although there’s a sixteen-point gap between Republican and Democratic voters on being “extremely interested” in the election, there’s only a five-point gap in voting.
Take it from here, Nate Silver:
“Second, there is considerable disagreement among pollsters on the magnitude of the enthusiasm gap. If Gallup’s likely voter model, which implies extremely lopsided turnout in favor Republicans, were to be correct, G.O.P. gains would be well in excess of 50 seats. Other turnout models, however, imply more like a 4- or 5-point enthusiasm gap, which would be more consistent with patterns in a typical midterm election. With an enthusiasm gap of that magnitude, Democrats would probably lose the House only narrowly and would have decent chances of holding onto it.”
Which matters more being extremely interested or definitely vote? Well, again, the early voting data so far would seem to indicate that the “definitely vote” figure matters more because we’re simply not seeing the kind of electorate that the Ohio Poll is predicting with its likely voter model.
What if the so-called “enthusiasm gap” was nothing more than a media-driven creation? What if Democratic voters aren’t “extremely interested” in the election because it’s hard to be excited about an election in which “your team” is going to lose? What if the reality was that we’re not really looking at a midterm any different from just about any other midterm?
I know, that would be completely nuts to think that the media overstated the situation in a need to feed a 24/7 news cycle, right?