Monday, November 29, 2010

The Obama effect

Last year, Obama famously declared that his personal popularity and awesome political skills would inspire voter turnout and thereby save endangered Democratic incumbents in the 2010 mid term election - - "Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me."

In fact, Obama did inspire record voter turnout - - of his opponents.

The 2010 elections turned into a rout of the Democrats because the elderly and wealthy surged to the polls to help sweep the Republicans back into power, and the balance of women's votes shifted to the GOP as well, according to a new report.

The study released Monday by Project Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, also found that turnout by pro-Democratic blocs such as African-Americans, young people and Latinos dropped sharply from 2008 levels, leaving a lopsided pro-Republican electorate to dominate the national landscape.

. . . Perhaps the most significant point about voter turnout in 2010 is how many voters didn't vote. Some 38 percent of eligible voters didn't vote in 2008 and this November and this year that figure rose to 61 percent.

The "enthusiasm gap" wasn't a theory. It was a fact.

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