A poll released on April 20 suggests that Democrats may have an advantage going into the 2018 elections: over 10 percent more Democrats than Republicans report feeling "very excited" about voting in the upcoming election.
Public Policy Polling released poll numbers from April 17 to 18 that showed 63 percent of Democratic respondents feeling highly enthusiastic about the 2018 elections, while just 52 percent of Republicans responded in kind.
In more specific results, 57 percent of Democrats who responded were most excited to vote for candidates in the House of Representatives in 2018, while only 38 percent of GOP respondents expressed the same sentiment.
Republican respondents only led Democrats in cross-sections of voters who replied that they were "somewhat excited" or "not that excited" to vote.
As of April 20, PPP reported that Congress itself had an approval rating of 18 percent.
The same organization reported approval ratings for President Donald Trump at 43 percent alongside a disapproval rating of 50 percent, connecting Trump's waning popularity with the relative lack of enthusiasm among the GOP.
PPP reports that 35 percent of American voters believe President Trump has fulfilled his campaign pledge to "make America great again," compared to 55 percent who think the opposite.
"A lot of attention gets paid to how unpopular Donald Trump is," stated Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, "but Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have even lower poll numbers. That's another reason why Democrats are looking well-positioned for next year."
Public Policy Polling reports that House Speaker Paul Ryan holds an approval rating split of 30 percent for Democrats and 53 percent for the GOP, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a similar split of 24 percent to 48 percent.
Independent Journal Review was careful to add a disclaimer on PPP's numbers, saying that the organization incorrectly predicted Hillary Clinton winning Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Michigan in the 2016 presidential election.
Variance in enthusiasm is a useful tool in determining future election results, but with more than a full calendar year to go before the 2018 elections, there is a lot of time for the tide to turn in favor of the GOP.
During the 2010 election cycle, for example, Democrats held a lead in the generic congressional ballot for virtually all of 2009, only to have Republican voters surge into a lead just before the election.
The 2014 election presented a similar scenario, with Democrats dominating in an early lead only to be overtaken by Election Day.