Why Are Americans Less Involved in This Year’s Election?

As noted by my colleague Jeff Jones in his recent review, Americans’ collective thought given to this election is lower than has been the case in the two most recent midterm elections in 2010 and 2006. Likewise, enthusiasm and self-reported motivation to vote are also down. The differences are particularly large compared with 2010, with a drop of 13 percentage points in thought given to the election, 18 points in motivation to vote and a drop of nine points in enthusiasm. CONT.

Frank Newport, Gallup

Nation’s Confidence Ebbs at a Steady Drip

In taking office during two overseas wars and the Great Recession, President Obama set out to restore society’s frayed faith in its public institutions, saying that the question was not whether government was too big or small, “but whether it works.” Six years later, Americans seem more dubious than ever that it really does. …

To be sure, it remains debatable whether government really is more dysfunctional than in the past. During other rough periods, during war and depression, during the civil rights movement or the Watergate scandal or Hurricane Katrina, institutions struggled to meet public needs. But today’s public disillusionment has been turbocharged by the relentless pace of the modern news media, the unforgiving glare of social media and the calculating efforts of partisans. CONT.

Peter Baker, New York Times

Would Stronger Parties Mean Less Polarization?

Ever since they emerged in the early 1800s, political parties have been a target of public scorn. But they have always had their defenders — a smaller, less influential camp that holds that parties are more beneficial than harmful because they play an essential role in mediating political disputes. …

The intensity of polarized politics at every level of government now puts the dispute over political parties at the center of a debate among office holders, political scientists, legal experts and partisan activists. Is it possible that strengthening the parties could lessen polarization? CONT.

Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times

Complexity makes errors more likely

… The more complex any process is, the more vulnerable it is to error, and over the years, polling has become much more complex. The rise of mobile phones, low turnouts, greater minority participation and a host of other factors have pushed quality pollsters toward ever more sophisticated and complex methods.

And with all that complexity comes with a greater possibility of error. CONT.

Mark Mellman (Mellman Group), The Hill

When Obama Lost White Millennials

In recent weeks, President Obama has taken to making direct appeals to young voters in an effort to raise the prospects of Democratic candidates around the country. It’s a strategy that would appear at the outset to hold some promise. …

However, the generational affinity that millennials demonstrate towards the president masks a familiar fault-line. Millennial politics, like American politics, remain strongly influenced—if not defined—by race and ethnicity. CONT.

Daniel Cox (Public Religion Research Institute), Brookings

Americans’ Confidence in Government to Handle Ebola Drops

Americans are no more worried about getting Ebola now than they were two weeks ago, but they have become somewhat less confident in the federal government’s ability to deal with an outbreak of the virus. Fifty-two percent of Americans are now very or somewhat confident in the government’s ability to handle Ebola, down from 61% in early October. CONT.

Frank Newport, Gallup

Ebola Worries Rise, But Most Are ‘Fairly’ Confident in Government, Hospitals to Deal With Disease

Public concern about the spread of the Ebola virus in the U.S. has increased since early October. Currently, 41% are worried that they themselves or someone in their family will be exposed to the virus, including 17% who say they are very worried. In a survey two weeks ago, 32% worried about exposure to Ebola; 11% said they were very worried. CONT.



Ebola Debuts on Americans’ List of Top U.S. Problems

As the quarantine period ends for people exposed to the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Ebola, the virus for the first time ranks among the top 10 issues Americans consider to be the most important ones facing the country. However, Ebola still ranks behind five other issues, including the economy (17%), dissatisfaction with government (16%) and unemployment (10%), and ties several others. CONT.

Justin McCarthy, Gallup

ACA Is One Of Many Issues Important To Voters

With the 2014 midterm election less than one month away, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds the ACA continues to be a second-tier issue on voters’ minds, and many say they are tired of hearing candidates talk about the law. Just over a quarter (27 percent) of registered voters say the health care law will be an “extremely important” issue in their vote and about another third (35 percent) say it will be “very important”. But when asked to choose the MOST important issue, just 8 percent pick health care, ranking behind the economy (16 percent) and dissatisfaction with government (12 percent) and similar to other issues like education (10 percent), the situation in Iraq and Syria (9 percent), and immigration (6 percent). CONT.

Kaiser Family Foundation