2010 vs. 2006

Raleigh’s own Public Policy Polling has a nice post up explaining how, despite the outward similarities, 2010 is quite different from 2006:

The Democrats’ big win in 2006 was not driven by the enthusiasm gap, but because a lot of people who had voted for George W. Bush in 2004 switched over to supporting Democratic candidates. According to the 2006 exit poll the electorate that year was actually more heavy on Bush voters than the 2004 electorate that reelected Bush. 49% were Bush voters to only 43% who were Kerry voters, compared to Bush’s 51-48 popular vote victory in 2004.

The reason Democrats won even though the electorate disproportionately consisted of Bush voters was that 15% of those Bush voters cast their ballots for a Democrat, a pretty large amount of crossover.

There aren’t nearly that many Obama voters leaning toward the Republicans this year. Our last national generic ballot survey found only 8% of people who voted for the President in 2008 were planning to support the GOP this year…

The big 2006 Democratic win was about voters abandoning the GOP. If Republicans have a big win in 2010 it’s mostly going to be about Democrats staying home.

Of course, they both lead to bad results from Democrats, but I think is is arguably better to not actually be driving your supporters over to the other party as happened with Republicans in 2006.  Obama’s prospects in 2012 are still very much tied to the economy, but I think the current situation for Democrats is probably better what Republicans faced after 2006 heading into 2008.  Plus, all Obama really needs is to face Sarah Palin.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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