October 31, 2010

The Preference Gap

7 Points

Among all registered voters, preferences are about evenly divided — 44% Democratic, 43% Republican. But among likely voters, Republicans lead by 6 points (48% to 42%) — one of the largest gaps in preferences between all voters and likely voters ever recorded in Pew Research Center surveys.

The Pew Research Center’s final 2010 pre-election poll finds that among all registered voters, preferences are about evenly divided — 44% Democratic, 43% Republican. The GOP’s overall lead of 6 points (48% to 42%) is only evident when the sample is narrowed to likely voters. This represents one of the largest gaps in preferences between all voters and likely voters ever recorded in Pew Research Center surveys. As was the case earlier in the campaign, this is more a consequence of unusually high engagement among Republicans than disengagement among Democrats. Since September, a growing number of Democrats say they have given a lot of thought to the election, but they still lag Republicans by a wide margin. The current levels of Democratic engagement are fairly typical for a midterm election, though they are somewhat below what they were in 2006, when the party regained control of Congress. Read More