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Democrats’ Gloom and Doom Is Premature

by Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center Special to Politico

With all the gloom and doom these days, the Democrats may be talking themselves into a crisis. While there is every reason to believe that the party is in trouble and will lose seats this year, there are no solid data that would justify a view shared by many here in Washington that the Democrats are destined to lose control of the House. This certainly could happen, but it is really too early to jump to that conclusion. However, one of the important factors that will determine whether this does happen is Democratic morale and the extent to which the base is engaged. A foreboding sense of the outcome of the coming election is not going to help Democrats match the energy level of Republicans and conservatives that was demonstrated in New Jersey, Virginia and Massachusetts.

These elections have been a clear indication of the imbalance of partisan engagement to date. But assessing turnout in November based on them is the equivalent of informed guesswork. And polls at this point are not that helpful either. In February or even June, people cannot reliably tell you how they are going to feel about voting in November. Turnout is a key question mark about the coming election season, but it is not the only one.

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