I guess you’ve got to hang your hope on something. When your best argument is “sure, all the poll numbers suck, we’ve got weak candidates and a LOT of seats to hold”, I guess you go with the party affiliation gap. Unfortunately for James Carville, the “it’s settled science, people” nonsense doesn’t fly.
Republicans are almost always less popular than Democrats in these surveys – even when they’re in charge. Carville touts the 10 point edge on party ID, but keep in mind the Democrats had a six point edge in 2010 when they got their collective ass handed to them in a high hat. In 2006, with the Democrat wave, they held an 11 point edge. The trouble for Carville comes in two forms. First, it’s not at all clear that his numbers are accurate. In the latest NBC News Poll, the gap in party ID is only 3 points, with 40% saying the consider themselves some degree of Democrats and 37% saying they are some degree Republican
But then comes one of those ugly numbers Carville wants to ignore.
In 2010, pollsters saw an enthusiasm gap of 5-7 points. That resulted in a loss in turnout from 2008 of about 7 points by Democrats and Republicans had a very good night. If you think of the enthusiasm gap as the difference between who identifies with a party versus who shows up, the enthusiasm gap almost perfectly matched the difference in people who said they wanted Democrats but failed to turn out to make that happen.
In the case of 2014, the enthusiasm gap is not only much larger (17 points, at last count) but should it have the same net effect on the election, Democrats could turn out at numbers substantially lower than 2010. If Democrats have an edge of 11 percent in ID, but a deficit of 17 points in enthusiasm, the result could be another VERY bad night for the Dems. The President’s favorability rating of 40% is an all-time low and shows signs of trouble from within his own party. A Wordle analysis of imagined protest signs supplied by poll respondents reveals a good deal of trouble for the progressive wing of the party.
Notice that red oval? That’s what DEMOCRATS want to say to their President. The size of the text is relative to the number of people responding that way. Look above the word “Congress” and you’ll see that more Democrats want to “Impeach Obama” than want to “Create Jobs” or “Legalize Marijuana”. That’s why Carville is trying so hard to spin party ID. However, the cold, hard reality for Carville and the rest of the Dems is their policies have alienated America, they are facing a strong headwind, and even their own people are fed up with Obama.