There is constant talk about how enthusiastic Republican voters are this year, and how that portends a negative 2010 election season for Democrats.
But pollster public policy institute has explained the truth on their site:
Among voters who are 'very excited' about voting this fall Republicans hold a 52-40 advantage. How much that matters is up for debate though. Scott Brown led the Massachusetts Senate race 59-40 with 'very excited' voters but won by only 5. Chris Christie led the New Jersey Governor's race 60-34 with 'very excited' voters but his final margin of victory was only 4 points. As I've said before unexcited voters count the same as excited ones and our polling so far this cycle has suggested the Democrats who answer our surveys vote, whether they're excited about it or not. So I'm not sure how much the wide GOP advantage with 'very excited' voters really matters.
In reality, these polls are driving the news and are political spin.
Every election is ultimately decided by unlikely voters. Often very unlikely voters.
However, all year long many polling organizations focus on "likely voters".
Sometimes it doesn't matter, but often-times the losing candidate has to fight the "loser" perception and narrative that begins to feed on itself.
So the biggest issue in the campaign becomes "why are you losing"?
Senator Lincoln in the recent Arkansas primary was a victim of this. A few polls showed her opponent with momentum. Most pundit had written her off. But she didn't quit, got big help from Former President Clinton and won.
I imagine she won many voters who won't answer polls, weren't that enthusiastic for her, and weren't sure they would actually vote.
But the fact is their votes count.