The Gallup organization has published a poll that arrives at what is to me a somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion: that Hillary Clinton’s voters are more enthusiastic than Sanders voters. From Gallup’s commentary on the poll:
PRINCETON, N.J. — As the 2016 primaries continue, with neither party’s nominee yet decided, Gallup finds sharp differences in the enthusiasm expressed by supporters of the various candidates. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, voters who support Donald Trump are the most enthusiastic by far, with a combined 65% describing themselves as extremely or very enthusiastic. This is nearly twice the level of fervor expressed by Republicans backing Gov. John Kasich (33%), and well eclipses the enthusiasm from those backing Sen. Ted Cruz (39%).
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s supporters are more enthusiastic than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters, 54% vs. 44%.
I’m not surprised that Donald Trump’s supporters are more enthusiastic although that’s probably not the word I would use. Mr. Trump’s campaign is founded on cultivating enthusiasm among voters who share certain characteristics. Without enthusiasm what does Trump have? Certainly not thoughtful consideration.
“Enthusiasm” comes from the Greek words meaning, more or less, “filled by a god”. They’re filled with something, that’s for sure although maybe not a god.
But Hillary Clinton? That her supporters are enthusiastic certainly flies in the face of my own face-to-face encounters with her supporters which have shown something closer to the resignation of death row inmates than anything like what I’d call “enthusiasm”. Maybe the flip side of inevitability. Flip side. There’s an expression cast onto the ash heap of history. Like “ash heap”.
I guess the real proof will be in November. If Hillary Clinton’s supporters come out in numbers greater than or equal to those who supported Mr. Obama in 2008, I’ll concede their enthusiasm. Otherwise maybe not.