Republicans More Likely to Vote: Democratic Strategists

Voting stickers in Athens, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 2012.

Photograph by Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Voting stickers in Athens, Ohio, on Nov. 6, 2012.

Two leading Democratic political strategists are warning the party this year  that it is dangerously behind in one of the most fundamental chores of electoral politics: Convincing supporters it’s worth their while to vote.

Democrats are now 7 percentage points less likely than Republicans to say they are “almost certain to vote” in the November congressional elections, pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville wrote in a memo distributed today. They blame a muddled economic message from the White House and congressional Democrats.

Republican voters are riled by their opposition to Obamacare while the tough economic environment saps the enthusiasm of core Democratic constituencies, they find.

Democratic Senate leaders have identified the challenge, calling this year’s contest “a turnout election.”

The strategists suggest Democrats start by burying any mention of the term economic “recovery,” arguing that it leads voters to think politicians are out of touch with their financial struggles.

Instead, they suggest the party focus on the disparity between the soaring fortunes of corporate CEOs and the “1 percent” versus the lagging prospects of the majority of Americans, with a particular emphasis on the challenges of working women. Women disproportionately vote Democratic and unmarried women even more so.

They argue that Democrats can beat the Republican anti-Obamacare, anti-taxes, anti-regulation campaign themes if candidates run on a message that taps discontent over the unequal economic rebound: “Our economy will not grow until ordinary people can afford education and train for jobs of the future, unless pay is pushed up, we stand up for American jobs and ensure people can retire comfortably.”

Simply by eliminating any claim of an economic recovery and shifting the focus to the gap between the wealthy and the rest, potential support for a party message based on the same policies such as a minimum wage increase, infrastructure investment and fair trade rises from 46 percent to 64 percent, the strategists’ polling finds.

 

 

 

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