Democrats Have An Edge On Election Year Activism

Forty-seven percent of Americans who'd like to see the Democrats control Congress now think they'll succeed in winning the House.

Americans hoping for a Democratic win in this year’s election are more likely to say they’ve been active in politics this year than those who hope control of Congress stays with the GOP, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds.

Supporters of the Democratic Party are 16 points likelier than supporters of the Republicans to have contacted their representatives in Congress or signed a petition, 15 points likelier to have attended a protest or rally, and 10 points likelier to have tried to sell family and friends on their political views, the survey finds. By smaller margins, they’re also more likely to have donated to or volunteered for a candidate or organization, or posted about politics on social media.

That basic divide holds true across other ways of breaking down the numbers. Voters who backed Hillary Clinton are more likely than Donald Trump voters to have taken any of the seven actions asked about on the survey, and those who belong to or lean toward the Democratic Party are more likely than those who identify with the GOP.

What remains to be seen is the extent to which that edge translates into an advantage on voter turnout in November. Many national surveys don’t begin attempting to screen for likely voters until it’s closer to Election Day.

But with the summer rolling on, several other recent surveys suggest that Democrats are continuing to hold at least a modest enthusiasm edge. A July Fox News poll found that Democrats were 9 points likelier than Republicans to say they were especially excited about this year’s elections. A Washington Post-Schar School poll found that Democratic voters were substantially more likely than Republicans to say voting this autumn is extremely important, but with a smaller gap in battleground districts. And although primary turnout isn’t necessarily the best predictor of general election vote patterns, this year’s House primaries have netted higher turnout than those in 2014, especially among Democrats, who’ve faced far more contested primaries.

That may have sparked a rise in optimism among supporters of the party. Forty-seven percent of those Americans who’d like to see Democrats retake Congress believe that the party will succeed in retaking the House, according to the HuffPost/YouGov poll, an uptick from the 39 percent last November who believed they’d do so.

Democratic activists, however, remain somewhat less broadly convinced than their Republican counterparts that their work is making a difference. Among supporters of the GOP who’ve taken political action, 63 percent say they think doing so has been at least somewhat effective, and just a tenth report feeling “burned out” by the idea of further activism. By comparison, only 55 percent of Democratic supporters think they’ve been at least somewhat effective, and a quarter report feeling burned out.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups: 

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Aug. 3-5 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.