Some of the Republicans who are weary of — and Democrats who are delighted by — the GOP’s long primary process have taken to pointing to turnout numbers as proof the party faithful are uninspired. In Mississippi’s hard-fought primary this week, for instance, turnout was lower than four years ago when John McCain already had all but wrapped up the nomination. We’ve seen similar results in other states throughout the primary season.
Then, along came Karl Rove with evidence the current president is suffering an enthusiasm problem of his own.
Which party has the least enthusiasm regarding the 2012 presidential race?
Total Voters: 100
In his weekly op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Rove noted that Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee had a combined $91.7 million in cash on hand by the end of January. At the end of January 2004, by comparison, Rove pointed out that George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee had a combined $122 million in the bank. Obama is lagging behind not only Bush’s pace, but his own expectations: He’s bringing in money at about half the rate required to hit the $1 billion mark (a goal his campaign has since tried to play down, if not abandon).
All this, even though Obama “has already attended 103 fund-raisers, roughly one every three days since he kicked off his campaign last April (twice his predecessor’s pace).”
Part of the problem, according to Rove, is that Obama and the DNC are burning through cash at a much faster rate than Bush and the RNC did. But he also noted one difference that definitely speaks to enthusiasm:
The Obama campaign itself reported that fewer than 7 percent of 2008 donors renewed their support in the first quarter of his re-election campaign. That’s about one-quarter to one-third of a typical renewal rate: In the first quarter of the Bush re-election campaign, for example, about 20 percent of the donors renewed their support.
So, which side in 2012 is lacking most in enthusiasm: Obama and the Democrats, or the Republicans who want to unseat him? That’s this week’s Poll Position question. Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread below.
– By Kyle Wingfield