Monday, December 31, 2007

Democrats Are Fired Up!

Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting front-page piece on the comparative motivation of the Democrats and the Republicans. Are the Dems more fired up?

As presidential hopefuls from both parties rally support across Iowa ahead of Thursday's caucuses, Democratic voters are showing greater fervor for the race than their Republican counterparts, a difference that could have repercussions throughout the 2008 campaign.

At its simplest, there is a political energy gap. Democrats appear to be more fired up about their party nominating contest than are Republicans. Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire have been turning out at rallies in greater numbers than Republicans and giving more money to candidates. In Iowa, polls indicate Democrats will be attending the Thursday night caucuses in record numbers.

"There seems to be a little more juice on the Democratic side," says Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

"Republicans have a lot of work to do to get to the intensity level Democrats are at today," agrees Terry Nelson, a Republican strategist who previously headed the campaign of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

That's critical because, although the presidential nominating contest is just getting under way, Republicans are worried the Democrats' greater enthusiasm could allow them to sustain their wide national lead in overall fund raising. And money will play a big role in the outcome of November's general election.

Some Republicans also worry that they could end up having trouble rallying around their party's eventual nominee, a problem faced in recent years by the often-fractious Democrats. This time, by contrast, Democratic voters nationally are telling pollsters they like their field of candidates better than Republicans say they like theirs.
Read the whole thing.

The article's mostly anecdotal, although
the numbers on campaign finance are favoring the Democrats considerably.

It's also important that the Republicans settle on a party nominee as soon as possible, rather than drag out the primaries to the convention.

I've been noticing a tremendous divide in the Republican party all 2006, especially since the immigration debate last summer. Such divisions are not good, as the mudslinging can be unusually nasty - on the campaign trail and in television advertising (see here and here). These divisions don't patch up well, leaving a question mark in the electorate as to how unified and strong the party stands behind its nominee.

It doesn't look like a single candidate's going to take both Iowa and New Hampshire, so the February 5 primaries could be decisive in sorting out the race.

I hope so, for the sake of the party's prospects in November.

See Memeorandum for more campaign analysis.