More than one-in-five online Americans engaged with the 2010 midterm elections or campaign on Twitter or social networking sites; Republicans -- especially Tea Party supporters -- caught up with Democrats in social media use.
Compared with four years ago, there is less excitement and optimism about the victorious party and its plans following the GOP's overwhelmingly successful Election Day. Also, while the public expresses more conservative views about the role of government than it did just two years ago, on major policy decisions that will arise in coming months, opinion is closely divided.
As the 2010 midterm elections near, Republican engagement and enthusiasm continue at record levels, outpacing even improved Democratic showings on these indicators. The growing popularity of early voting -- about a quarter of voters nationally say they plan to vote before Election Day -- gives Democrats less time to make up ground and there is no indication that their voter mobilization efforts are outmatching Republican efforts.
Two factors have emerged as major potential negatives for congressional candidates: TARP and Sarah Palin. Americans are split over whether they are more likely to vote for candidates who supported the health care law.
In its Topic A feature for Sunday April 4, 2010, the Washington Post asked several experts -- among them the Pew Research Center's Director of Survey Research Scott Keeter -- whether the Republican Party would win in November with a negative strategy.
Three-quarters (74%) of internet users went online during the 2008 election to take part in, or get news and information about the 2008 campaign. This represents 55% of the entire U.S. adult population.
A week after the election, voters are feeling good about themselves, the presidential campaign and Barack Obama. Looking ahead, they have high expectations for the Obama administration, with two-thirds predicting that he will have a successful first term.
Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. In particular, the overwhelming backing of younger voters was a critical factor in Obama's victory, according to an analysis of National Election Pool exit poll data.
The Pew Research Center's final pre-election poll of 2,587 likely voters finds 49% supporting or leaning to Obama, 42% for McCain; 2% for minor party candidates and 7% undecided. When the undecided vote is allocated, Obama holds a 52% to 46% lead over McCain. The survey was conducted from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.
As recently as a month ago, this analyst and the American public itself were throwing up our hands and saying we can't figure this one out -- too many intangibles. No more.