Post-Election, Enthusiasm Gap Remains

November 14, 2012, 1:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 11/10/2012) A consistent finding of Economist/YouGov polls throughout the summer and early fall of 2012 was that supporters of Republican Mitt Romney were much more likely than supporters of President Obama to be paying attention to the campaign — and also to express greater enthusiasm about it. That basic trend remained apparent through election day, though when asked how closely they followed the campaign in the latest, post-election survey, the gap between Romney voters and Obama voters is somewhat diminished.

78% of Romney voters say they followed the campaign "very closely", as opposed to 72% of Obama voters. At the very end of October, 79% of Romney voters were following the campaign "very closely," compared with 61% of Obama voters.

More than half of Romney voters are "angry" over the outcome and their candidate’s loss, while three in five Obama voters call themselves "excited" about the election outcome. More than three in four Romney voters report that they are "worried" and "disappointed." Over two-thirds of Obama voters are "relieved" and "satisfied." 68% of Obama voters are "happy," while 60% of Romney voters are "sad."

Judging strictly by their own answers, Romney voters appear to have been much more involved in the 2012 campaign than Obama voters. Romney voters claim to have participated at higher levels than Obama voters in nearly every campaignrelated activity—reading and forwarding e-mails, reading leaflets and letters, "liking" candidates on Facebook, attending campaign events, and donating money.

Most of the President’s voters were committed to him: 81% said they voted for him, not against his GOP opponent. And while fewer Romney voters described their vote as a positive one, 60% did — the highest figure for the Republican nominee in the entire campaign. In most of the Economist/YouGov polls before last week’s election, more Romney supporters claimed to be voting against the President than for Romney. But Romney voters were usually more enthusiastic about casting that (mostly negative) vote.

There is a little evidence in this week’s poll that more of the President’s voters could have been persuaded to cast a Romney vote than vice versa. 12% of the President’s voters said they considered voting for Romney at one point; just 8% of Romney voters said they thought about voting for the incumbent.

On the other hand, equal percentages of each candidate’s voters say they would have wanted a somewhat different kind of candidate than the one they supported: 11% of the President’s voters said they would have liked a candidate with the Democrat’s views on social issues and the Republican’s views on economic issues, while 13% of Romney’s voters wanted their candidate’s economic positions paired with the President’s views on social issues.

Attitudes about the two men changed little post-election. President Obama did somewhat better than Governor Romney when it came to his overall favorability rating, though 47% of registered voters continue to hold an unfavorable view of him. 52% think negatively about Romney. The President fares better than Romney on both likability and sincerity. But those percentages have changed little since before the election.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association