Recent poll finds Democrats not enthusiastic about this year’s election


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LeTania Kirkland: This is sort of an unusual election year. How would you say that is?

Darry Sragow: Well, every election year is unusual. This one is unusual in part because we have a Democratic president who was elected with a lot of hope and a lot of votes, and who I think has disappointed a lot of voters, and the result is that there is a sense that the Democrats will not do well in the midterm elections. There’s a lot of precedent for that. It’s not unusual for the party of a new president to have a problem two years into his first term. That’s kind of a dynamic that people think they’re going to see here.

Kirkland: There was a theory that Democrats were not enthusiastic about this year’s election. How enthusiastic do you really think Democrats are?

Sragow: There was a statistical measure we use, which is we ask the folks in our polling how enthusiastic they are about voting. We give them a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most enthusiastic. And there was a gap in the September LA Times/USC poll on that measure between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats were less enthusiastic about voting. In the October USC/Los Angeles Times poll, there was no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats appeared between the middle of September and the middle of October to have gotten more excited collectively about the campaign.

Kirkland: In 1978, California opposed property taxes with Proposition 13, and in 1994, we had Proposition 187, which was sort of a rally against illegal immigration. Do you think there’s any common place where Californians are placing their frustration in this election?

Sragow: No, that’s a great question because when you ask Calfiornians is the state headed in the right direction or the wrong direction, 80 percent of Californians think the state is headed in the wrong direction. More than half of the people who said the state’s headed in the wrong direction, said they were disappointed. That’s why we’re not seeing people take to the streets, that’s why we’re not seeing a Proposition 13 or a Proposition 187 or a recall. I just think they are incredibly frustated and disappointed, so I think they’re sort of going, ‘I don’t know what my options are anymore.’