Democrats and Democratic leaning independents are not enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming Presidential election according to Gallup polling. There is some very bad news for President Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party when it comes to the issue of base engagement in the upcoming election.

Democrats' Enthusiasm for Voting in Presidential Election Years, 2000-2008 and 2011

On the other hand the Republicans remain relatively enthusiastic about voting in 2012.

Republicans' Enthusiasm for Voting in Presidential Election Years, 2000-2008 and 2011

According to Gallup, the gap between the Democrats’ level of enthusiasm compared to the Republicans’ level of enthusiasm is the largest it has been in a decade. A large enthusiasm gap is a bad thing in any political environment, but it’s especially problematic for the Obama campaign, which depended on high enthusiasm to get large turnout numbers from infrequent voters groups, such as young adults in 2008.

After the 2010 Democratic wipeout there was some hope among Democrats that the 2012 Congressional elections wouldn’t be as bad because having Obama on the ballot would inspire his 2008 surge voters to come out again. At this point though, it looks as if Obama’s ability to increase base enthusiasm or turnout is highly limited.

I also don’t think Obama’s habit of berating his base and telling them to “stop complaining” during the worst economic downturn in generations is going to close the enthusiasm gap anytime soon.