Washington

Republicans Maintain Slim Enthusiasm Lead as Excitement Grows, but Biden’s Getting More Popular

65% of Republican voters said they’re “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections, compared with 62% of Democrats

Image of President Joe Biden Before the 2022 Midterm Elections
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 9. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Over the past month, enthusiasm about voting in the midterm elections has surged to its highest point yet among Democrats and Republicans, driven at least in part by a week in which Congress passed a major piece of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda and the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida, according to Morning Consult/Politico tracking.

Republicans Maintain Slight Edge as Enthusiasm Grows Ahead of Midterms

Shares of voters who said they were “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in the 2022 midterm elections

Weekly surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022 among at least 687 Democratic voters and 621 Republican voters each, with margins of error of up to +/-4 percentage points.

Advantage GOP: Voter enthusiasm is growing ahead of midterms

  • According to the Aug. 12-14 survey, 65% of Republican voters said they’re “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about voting in the midterm elections, a record high among the 44 surveys conducted since September. 
  • Last week’s events also appeared to provide an enthusiasm boost to the Democratic base, with 62% similarly motivated to vote in November — another record and up 5 percentage points from the previous week.
  • Republican voters remain more likely than Democratic voters to say they’re “extremely” enthusiastic about voting this fall (44% vs. 36%). But on both sides of the aisle, those figures grew more week over week than at any other time since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections in late June.

Achievements and grievances

The latest enthusiasm bump comes after a big week for both parties: House Democrats sent the Inflation Reduction Act — a massive climate, health care and taxes measure — to Biden’s desk (likely his final major legislative victory before the midterms) and Trump used the FBI investigation into his handling of classified documents to revive Republican grievances about probes against him. 

The FBI’s search activity had relatively high salience for a news event, with little partisan divide: 55% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans said they’d seen, read or heard “a lot” about it. Voters of both parties were less likely to hear a lot about the Democrats’ legislative success or the news that the average price of a gallon of gasoline dropped below $4 nationwide — two events the party sees as key to fending off losses in November.

At least last year, voters were generally more aware of legislative action once it was signed by the president than when it was passed by Congress, suggesting there’s room to expand recognition of those accomplishments. But surveys show Biden and his party are already starting to make up some much-needed ground.

Democrats rally: Biden’s popularity is improving

  • When it comes to the president’s standing, 42% of voters approve and 56% disapprove of Biden’s job performance, marking a level of support he has not seen since mid-June after a modest increase over the past four weeks, driven by Democrats and independents.
  • On the other side of the coin, Trump has seen no improvement in his popularity relative to his party’s enthusiasm boost as he inserts himself into the midterm conversation: 40% of voters view him favorably and 57% view him unfavorably, making him less popular than Biden after several weeks where the current president lacked a popularity advantage.
  • Congressional Democrats have a 4-point lead over congressional Republicans in the generic ballot (46% to 42%), consistent with their average lead in Morning Consult/Politico surveys conducted in July.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Aug. 12-14, 2022, among a representative sample of 2,005 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Morning Consult