July 28th, 2014
08:30 AM ET
4 months ago

First lady steps up political push

Washington (CNN) – Michelle Obama is asking Democrats to get serious - about voting in November's midterm elections.

In an email and video to Democratic donors and supporters, the first lady is trying to energize the party's base and expand Democratic turnout. Obama's pitch comes as a new CNN poll illustrates the turnout problem the Democrats face in November.

"When it comes to the midterm elections this November, we need you to be as passionate and as hungry as you were in 2008 and 2012. In fact, you need to be even more passionate and more hungry to get Democrats elected to Congress because these elections will be even hard and even closer than those presidential elections," Obama said in a video put out Sunday by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Adding that "we're talking about races that are won and lost by just a few thousand votes, or even a few hundred votes," the first lady said that the party's goal is to reach one million new voter commitments by November. She urged people to sign up at 1MILLIONVOTESFOR2014.COM.

While she has headlined fundraisers for the DCCC, this is the first time the first lady has recorded a video for House re-election arm.

To help motivate Democratic votes, Obama highlighted issues important to the base.

"Just think about what we can accomplish together with a big Democratic victory. We can promote equal pay for women. We can raise the minimum wage. We can pass immigration reform. We can ensure that women are free to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care," she wrote in the email.

The first lady is one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party, with a favorable rating that outshines her husband. A CNN/ORC International survey released in early June indicated the first lady with a 61% favorable rating among Americans, 14-percentage points higher than President Barack Obama.

First lady asks for 'biggest, fattest' checks

Thursday the first lady headlined a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago. She helps the party committee raise more money at an event Monday in the nation's capital.

Meanwhile, the DCCC announced Monday that it's raised nearly $7 million since House Speaker John Boehner first signaled in late June that he planned to sue Obama. Boehner and House Republicans claim the President violated the Constitution by circumventing Congress and changing the law's employer mandate on his own.

Will Democrats turnout in November?

Michelle Obama's video email and video was sent out with 100 days to go until November's elections. And the biggest question surrounding this year's midterms is how many people will turn out to vote.

The answer is crucial, because a smaller, more typical midterm electorate should favor the Republican Party. That's because single women, and younger and minority voters, who are big supporters of Democrats in presidential election years, tend to cast ballots in smaller numbers in the midterms.

That's the problem facing Democrats this November, as they try to hold onto their 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party). The party is defending 21 of the 36 seats up this year, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states. In the House, the Democrats need to pick up an extremely challenging 17 Republican held seats to win back the majority from the GOP.

xxxxx poll

A new CNN poll released Sunday illustrates the turnout problem for the Democrats.

In the generic ballot question, the Democrats have a four percentage point 48%-44% edge over the Republicans among registered voters. The generic ballot asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.

But when looking only at those who say they voted in the 2010 midterms – when the GOP won back the House thanks to a historic 63-seat pick up and narrowed the Democrats' control of the Senate – Republicans hold a two-point 48%-46% margin.

Two caveats: The margins are within the poll's sampling error. And the while the generic ballot is a much watched midterm indicator, the battle for Congress is not one race but instead 471 individual Senate and House contests across the country.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report


Filed under: 2014 • DCCC • DNC • Michelle Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Janet Nappylotto

    For those who don't know the difference between The US Deficit and the US's $17 Trillion Debt, maybe you should go back to school and pass the Econ 101 class you failed or just remain blind to the Obvious.

    July 28, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. clint

    Funny they never talk about all the spending or the 18 t in debt

    July 29, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
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