We interviewed a nationally representative sample of 957 likely voters in early July and late October. Each survey asked likely voters how they planned to vote in the election for the U.S. House of Representatives. In that time, net support for Democrats increased from 8.5 to 10.8%. Considering these are the very same individuals, this represents a substantial Democratic gain.
But Newly Engaged Voters Look Different. We also studied a special group. We randomly selected 136 respondents who said they were not likely to vote in our July survey but who were likely voters by October. Among this group, the Democratic advantage disappeared. But we must remember this is a small group, so there is a lot of uncertainty in this result. Also, those who only recently became engaged in the election constitute a small portion of total voters. In fact, when we combine both groups (likely voters from July and new likely voters), Democrats retain an 8.1% net advantage.
It Will Come Down to Turnout. These data highlight an overlooked x-factor on Election Day. Those who recently tuned into the election appear to have different voting preferences than those who’ve been engaged all along. The key question is which type of voters will turn out, and we all are part of the answer. Whatever your political preferences, make sure you vote!
About the survey: Data from Enns and Schuldt 2018 Midterm Election Study. The nationally representative survey of likely voters was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. This panel survey was funded by Cornell’s Center for the Study of Inequality.Save to Favorites