American voters are more likely to turn out in the upcoming midterms than they were four years ago, when voter turnout was at a record low point for the past 50 years, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Voter enthusiasm has increased across the board, with the greatest increases seen in young adults, non-white, and Democratic voters. Among all registered voters, 77 percent said they were “absolutely certain to vote,” an increase of 12 percent over the same demographic in October 2014. Democrats have a slight edge in this category with 81 percent of respondents saying they will definitely vote (an 18-point increase from 63 percent in 2014) compared with 79 percent of Republicans.
The biggest shifts in eagerness to vote were non-white and young voters, whose enthusiasm jumped 24 and 25 percentage points respectively. Republican voters without college degrees, meanwhile, are showing a lower certainty to vote than average and only slightly increased over 2014 numbers.
The Washington Post notes that the poll “offers no definitive answer to the question of how the partisan battle over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has affected intensity among voters from both parties.” One-third of registered voters indicated that the Kavanaugh battle made them more likely to support Democrats; 27 percent said it made them more likely to support Republicans.
A CBS News/YouGov poll predicts the midterms will bring a Democratic house, winning 226 seats to Republicans’ 209. Higher turnout could widen that margin while low turnout could give the GOP a single seat advantage, the poll found.
However, the news that voter enthusiasm has increased in both parties, along with President Donald Trump’s rising popularity — his approval rating has jumped 5 points — is not good news for Democrats who are banking on anti-Trumpism to win them back the House and possibly the Senate in November.
But if young voters – like those inspired to register by Taylor Swift – show up on Election Day, that will give an advantage to the Dems. “If younger voters turn out even at modest rates, it could tilt the scales significantly in favor of Democratic candidates, who they support over Republican candidates by a margin of 61 percent to 35 percent,” the Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert P. Jones told USA Today.