Politics & Government

Democrats confront an 'enthusiam gap'

Two years ago today, the Democratic Party gathered in Denver — energetic and confident of victory — to nominate Barack Obama for president.

What a difference a deep recession, two wars, a yearlong argument over health care, a tea party movement, a massive deficit, a minor scandal or two, a muddled message and partisan gridlock can make.

That 2008 enthusiasm, many Democrats acknowledge, has turned to anger and disillusionment in 2010, threatening midterm chances for scores of their candidates.

"My gosh, it's like night and day," said Anne McGregor, a field organizer for Obama, comparing the attitude of his supporters now and then.

“Young people have no reason to be excited,” observed Doug Gray, a political consultant and liberal organizer in the Kansas City area. “They feel like it doesn’t matter, it’s just more of the same.”

Political pros have dubbed the problem an “enthusiasm gap,” and point to polling that suggests the deepening Democratic dilemma:

An Ipsos Public Affairs poll designed to measure voter enthusiasm in August showed 79 percent of Republicans were enthusiastic, compared to 60 percent of Democrats.

Read the complete story at kansascity.com