Like other recent national surveys, the latest CBS/New York Times poll shows Rick Perry leading the Republican field over Mitt Romney by 7 percentage points. But the more pressing news is the so-called "enthusiasm gap," the difference in get-out-to-vote passion between Republicans and Democrats. Looks like Democrats, relatively speaking, want to stay home in 2012 (as they did in the red-wave 2010 elections). They trail Republicans by 18 percentage points (26-44).
The numbers confirm the profound disappointment many Democrats have in President Obama, who has over-promised and under-delivered amid the economy he inherited. But Obama has had trouble getting his former Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate to enthusiastically back him (e.g., healthcare, the stimulus, American Jobs Act....[Question: do some in the tradition-bound Senate, where members often act as mini-presidents, resent the fact that the Illinois frosh jumped the line and won the White House?). Meantime, Obama has tacked from stimulus spending to embracing budget cuts to stimulus spending again.
From the poll: "At this early stage of the campaign, 31% of registered voters nationwide say they are more enthusiastic about the 2012 presidential election compared to past elections. This level of enthusiasm is similar to what it was in the fall of 2007.
But there is an 18 point partisan enthusiasm gap that currently favors Republicans: 44% of Republican voters are more enthusiastic about voting in 2012, while just 26% of Democrats are. This is a reversal compared to October, 2007, when twice as many Democrats as Republicans expressed more enthusiasm about voting."