Poll Confirms Voter Interest Surging for Midterm Election

 Democrats predict a blue wave and Republicans sense a surge in support after the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. They both could be right and the nation could be in for a blockbuster night of tight election results. [Illustration by Zac Freeland/Vox]

Democrats predict a blue wave and Republicans sense a surge in support after the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. They both could be right and the nation could be in for a blockbuster night of tight election results. [Illustration by Zac Freeland/Vox]

Democrats predict a blue wave in the looming midterm elections and Republicans point to a GOP surge following the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. They both could be right.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released over the weekend shows overall enthusiasm for voting this November is markedly higher (12 percent) than it was in October 2014, the last midterm election.

The two largest leaps in enthusiasm from four years ago are among younger (25 percent) and nonwhite (24 percent) voters. Enthusiasm among Democrats jumped 18 percent, independents 13 percent and Republicans 4 percent.

There are fascinating statistics within statistics. The Kavanaugh confirmation battle increased Republican voter resolve this fall, especially among males. President Donald Trump’s approval rating also bumped up. However, a significant gender gap remains. According to the poll, women favor Democratic House candidates by a 59 to 37 percent margin, driven in part by an even greater split among women who identify as political independents (62 to 37 percent).

A striking, though not surprising finding is that partisans on both sides seem to be hardening their positions. Ninety percent of voters who disapprove of Trump are supporting Democratic candidates and 87 percent who approve of Trump are voting for Republicans.

Partisans do agree that the upcoming election is more important than previous midterms. Democrats are more convinced at 74 percent, but 61 percent of Republicans agree.

On issues, poll respondents expressed slightly more trust in Republicans over Democrats in managing the economy (45 to 41 percent), while showing about the same level of trust in Democrats over Republicans on taxes (45 to 42 percent). Democrats hold double-digit leads over Republicans on changing the way Washington works, appointment of Supreme Court justices, immigration and equal treatment of men and women. According to poll results, the economy and health care rank as the top issues.

The poll was conducted last week using a random sample of 1,144 adults, 65 percent reached via cell phones and 35 percent on landline telephones. Reaching voters by cell phone is a major change in the way telephone surveys are conducted to ensure representative inclusion of younger, poorer and minority respondents.