The more you like Obama, the less likely you are to vote this year

Democrats could be facing a major turnout gap this fall.

Simply put, the more supportive you are of Barack Obama's job performance, the less likely you are to show up at the midterm elections this year. A new survey report from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution quantifies the extent of this relationship among various demographic groups. The results spell trouble for the Democrats.

enthusiasm-gap

Young voters are key players in the Democratic coalition and they generally approve of Obama's job performance (54%). But they're the demographic group least likely to turn out this November - less than a quarter of 18-29 year-olds say they're "absolutely certain" they'll make it to the polls.

On the other hand, 70 percent of seniors are certain they'll be voting. Since they're more consistently conservative than any other age group, it's likely that many of them will be voting Republican.

Or, just look at the gap between Democrats and Republicans. Only 51 percent of Democrats say they're certain to vote this fall, compared to 68 percent of Republicans.

Across nearly every demographic category - age, race, gender, ideology - groups that lean Republican and tend to disapprove of Obama are significantly more likely to say they'll show up to vote this November. This isn't a new phenomenon - midterm electoral demographics have historically favored Republicans. Democrats are acutely aware of the issue and are actively working to reshape the 2014 electorate along 2012 lines.

But if these numbers are any indication, Democrats still have their work cut out for them. As E.J. Dionne and Bill Galston write in their analysis of the PRRI data, "it is hard to miss the similarities between mid-2014 and the political terrain four years ago." This year, Republicans are likely to add a few seats to their already comfortable House majority, and may be poised to take control of the Senate as well.

Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.
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