Elections: USA follows the Blue Wave
BSSB.BE grinnell.edu 26.10.2018
* A new Grinnell College National Poll of likely 2018 midterm voters finds greater political activation among Democrats than Republicans.
“We wanted to experiment with a way to measure political engagement beyond just asking people if they were interested in or paying attention to the election,” said J. Ann Selzer, whose company, Selzer & Company, has partnered with Grinnell College to direct the poll. “In this era of rallies, marches, and talk of blue and red waves, we wanted to see if people were making plans for concrete political action.”
Poll results show substantial numbers are making plans for concrete political action, with likely Democratic voters planning more involvement than their Republican counterparts.
“Across the board, Democrats expect to engage in more political activity – and report having done more in the recent past – than Republicans,” said Peter Hanson, associate professor of political science at Grinnell College. “This is a strong indication that Democrats’ heightened interest in politics this year is translating into action that may have a powerful effect in the 2018 midterm elections.”
In fact, poll results suggest a partisan gap related directly to voter turnout, which include:
- 50 percent of likely Democratic voters say they intend to help others cast ballots in elections in the near future. That compares to 34 percent of their Republican counterparts.
- 40 percent of Democrats say they expect to help register others to vote, compared to 29 percent of Republicans.
Other activities centered on expressing opinion, such as attending public events and contacting officials, also show a partisan divide.
- 36 percent of Democrats who are likely voters say they expect to attend meetings, rallies, and marches in the near future, compared to just 20 percent of their Republican counterparts.
- 43 percent of Democrats expect to contact a public official by letter, email, or phone, compared to just 27 percent of Republicans.
Political activation may not be happening for the first time ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The poll also asked respondents if they had done these same activities in the recent past. A similar trend emerged, with Democratic voters more than Republican voters more commonly reporting having done many of the measured activities in the recent past.
One other stand-out finding in the poll is the expectation among younger voters under age 35 to participate in public events such as rallies, marches, and other events associated with candidates and causes. More than one in three (37 percent) say they expect to do this in the near future, well above the overall average of 28 percent. “I heard a young man say something like, ‘I’ve been woke,’” said Selzer. “To me, that sounded like the genesis of a set of good poll questions we can track going forward.”
The poll interviewed 779 likely voters in the 2018 midterm election and was conducted from August 29-September 2, 2018. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:grinnell.edu