The Close Presidential Race: An Enthusiasm Gap

July 26, 2012, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 7/21/2012) Voters supporting President Obama and voters favoring his Republican opponent Mitt Romney both are looking forward to the prospect of casting a ballot this fall, with Romney’s supporters more enthusiastic than the Presdient’s; but the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds different kinds of enthusiasm when it comes to the candidate voters have chosen.

The race itself continues to look close; this week 44% of registered voters plan to vote for the incumbent this fall; 45% say they will vote for his Republican challenger.

The President faces a problematic economy in his race for re-election. 42% of Americans say the economy is continuing to get worse, a perceptions that spiked recently after the poor jobs report two months ago. And nearly half of the public now says the President bears a great deal or a lot of the blame for economic problems today.

Both sets of voters claim they are enthusiastic about the prospect of casting a vote this fall, with Romney’s supporters even more excited: 52% of the President’s supporters and 63% of Romney’s are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. But the two groups of voters characterize their support very differently. 37% of Obama voters say they are "big fans" of their candidate, something just 26% of Romney’s supporters say. What motivates more Romney votes is distaste for the incumbent: one in three of them say they "don’t like Romney that much; I’m mostly voting against Obama." Just 13% of Obama voters say they are primarily voting against Romney.

The President has another advantage: expectation of victory. 83% of his supporters expect that he will win in November. Barely half of Romney voters think their candidate will win.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association