Obama: Democrats 'don't vote' in midterms
May 9th, 2014
08:15 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama: Democrats 'don't vote' in midterms

San Jose, California (CNN) - President Barack Obama says when it comes to this year's midterm elections, Democrats have a problem: they don't vote.

"Democrats have a congenital defect when it comes to our politics, and that is we like voting during presidential years and during the midterms we don't vote. And so you already have lower voting totals during the midterms, and it's our folks that stay home," the President said a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in San Jose, California Thursday night.

[twitter-follow screen_name='psteinhausercnn'][twitter-follow screen_name='AdamATCNN']

The event was the last in a series of Democratic party fundraisers Obama headlined the past two days during a swing through California. Besides bringing in the bucks for the DNC and the party's House and Senate re-election committees, the President was also trying fire up the base, to motivate Democratic voters to do just that this November: vote.

And Democrats, more than Republicans, appear to have more work ahead of them when it comes to firing up the base. Conventional wisdom dictates that the GOP has an advantage over the Democrats in midterm contests. White voters and older voters, key to the Republican base, tend to cast ballots in bigger percentages in midterms than younger voters and minorities, who are an important part of the Democrats' base

"Maybe in normal times that's okay - although I don't think it's ever okay for us not to vote. But in this midterm, with the stakes as high as they are, with the progress that needs to be made, with families out there who are desperate to see a Washington that is on their side - we're going to have to make sure that we are coming out with the same urgency and the same enthusiasm that we typically show during presidential years," Obama added.

Obama says don't let 2016 overshadow 2014

Three recent national polls indicated that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting this November than Democrats.

According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 45% of registered voters said they want the November elections to result in a Republican-controlled Congress, with an equal amount saying they'd like to see Democrats in control on Capitol Hill. But among voters with the highest interest in the midterms, the GOP held a 15-percentage point lead (53%-38%) over the Democrats on the question of which party should control Congress.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey indicated the two major political parties are all tied up in the generic ballot, which asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. But among those who said they'll definitely vote in November, the GOP had a slight five point edge.

Seventy percent of registered Republican voters questioned in a CBS News poll said they are very or somewhat excited about voting in November, compared to 58% of Democrats. And 81% of registered Republicans said they'll definitely vote in November, compared to 68% of registered Democrats.

And a Harvard University Institute of Politics poll on millennials – those between the ages of 18 and 29 – suggested a shrinking percentage of younger voters who say they'll cast ballots come November. According to the online survey, 24% of Americans under the age of 30 said they'll definitely vote in the midterms, a 10 point drop from last autumn, and seven points lower than what they said at a similar time in the 2010 midterm election cycle.

Complete coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

The Democrats currently hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (including two independents who caucus with the party). But the party's defending 21 of the 36 seats in play, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

In the House, Democrats need to pick up 17 GOP-held seats to win back control of the chamber, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts.

Key races to watch in 2014



Filed under: 2014 • DNC • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Kelby

    "Obama: Democrats 'don't vote' in midterms"
    This is true. This is the reason why the GOP runs statehouses across America.
    This is the reason the GOP has The House. This is how so many Voter ID laws got passed
    We don't vote during the midterm elections and we gotta change that.

    May 9, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  2. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And he's right. When I went to vote in 2010 I didn't go until around 6 pm and I was #37 I think, to vote in my precinct. I couldn't believe it. I remember telling my best friend. Snyder has this, she swore up and down he didn't. Oh but he did.... Here's to hoping dems wake the heck up and vote!

    May 9, 2014 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. Thomas Richard Harold

    Hoax-and-Blame turns on his own cult?!
    "It's not MY failed economic or international policies the the polls look grim for Democrats... It is all YOUR fault for not getting up and voting!!!"

    Now drink more Koolaide:
    0.1% US economic growth for Q1 is a SUCCESS!

    Having the lowest employment participation rate in decades is a SUCCESS!

    Having the highest food stamp participation rate in decades is a SUCCESS!

    Iran keeping their weapons program... SUCCESS!

    Syrian Red Line... Not my fault... It was the worlds fault.

    Russia taking over Crimea and wreaking havoc in Ukraine... SUCCESS!

    Food and utility prices spiking... SUCCESS!

    Tax money that should be going to improve US citizen's lives going to support criminals who enter the country illegally... SUCCESS

    Etc., etc., etc.

    Drink up my, friends... Drink up!

    May 9, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  4. rla

    Now if we could just get them to have that same attitude during presidential elections imagine how far ahead we would be today and how much better off

    May 9, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Democrats have a congenital defect when it comes to our politics, and that is we like voting during presidential years and during the midterms we don't vote
    Well, I don't know if we should go as far as to say it is congenital....but then again, Republicans have a congenital problem when it comes to lying so you might be right Mr. President.

    May 9, 2014 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    White voters and older voters, key to the Republican base, tend to cast ballots in bigger percentages in midterms than younger voters and minorities, who are an important part of the Democrats' base
    You personally, Mr. President, should treat these midterms as if YOU were running for a third term.
    These midterms represent YOUR last chance of accomplishing the rest of, or as much of, your agenda before the end of your historic presidency.
    YOU need to gin up the base by communicating that to Democrats, indies and everyone i between.
    It has been proven TWICE that we will get up, get on line, and stay in line to vote for you and because of you.
    You can get us to do it again if you make these midterms about YOU and what it would mean to your presidency Mr. President.
    That's the message that you must hammer home starting NOW.

    May 9, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  7. smith

    A portion of the liberal base only cares about the potus, they could care less about other political positions. This a result of not being informed and not pay attention high school goverment class.

    May 9, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. Dead Bear

    While some Democrats may not vote in mid terms, this one does. And, in case any one was wondering, I don't vote for anything with a (R) next to their name.

    May 9, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Denise

    So......who cares if the GOP runs state governments mostly in red states where no one lives? Try winning the popular vote and general election for a change!

    May 9, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  10. Luc

    I find it so disgusting that the GOP can find the time only have investigations ie Bengahzi,Irs, and repeals and can't find the time for Immigration reform, unemployment insurance, ACA for the people in the south which is paid for,( 5,000,000 without ACA southern states) minimum wage increase for the middle class, equal pay for women do i need to go on. I have never in my life seen a inept group of people like the GOP. Americans better hope that these guys running the country start making decisions on behalf of the American public or we are in real big trouble. GOP for the first time in 20 years have to stop looking to the past are start moving the country forward with real ideas and not for the rich. USA falling behind other countries every week that goes by.

    May 9, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Denise

    The lowest income per capita states are run by shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh GOP.....

    May 9, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. Malory Archer


    So let me get this straight, you harp on Bush for serving in the Air National Guard during the Veitnam War but you give Bill Clinton a pass for not serving in the military because he protested the Veitnam War? Then you give Obama a pass for not serving in the military because the Veitnam War was over? Your statement is one of 100% hypocrisy and is beyond dumb.


    Yes, I DO give Bill Clinton "a pass" because unlike the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who DESERTED THE ANG after getting preferential treatment to GET THERE and all the while being gung-ho about sending EVERYONE ELSE there, at least Bill Clinton had the spleen to stand on principals. I know that's anathema to your ilk, but the majority of thinking human beings respect that.

    Additionally, as the spouse of a career military man, I respect President Obama's decision to NOT join the military, 'cause here's the thing: following Vietnam and until the unfortunate events of September 2001, Americans had a real disdain for service members and their families and we were relegated to second class citizen status. When my husband enlisted in the early 1980s there were guys in his boot camp who were criminals and had been ordered by a judge to join the military or go to prison. When our daughters were in elementary school, we had several families in our neighborhood (in a southern state) who wouldn't let their kids play with them BECAUSE we were a military family, and somehow a "bad influence". Fortunately we spent the vast majority of my husband's career stationed abroad (by choice) so my girls were shielded from a great deal of the vitriol spewed by "sunshine patriots" who only "support the troops" with, cheap car magnets, meaningless pageants and lip service when they're in harm's way. Truth hurts, babe, but it is what it is.

    May 9, 2014 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Gunderson

    Democrats have Congenital Defect! Your leader said so ! Sorry old Gunderson only report News, No make news. Humm, I wonder? Did he mean no Genitiala? Well no never mind. Better Translation NO JOB !!!

    May 9, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Bessy

    He's absolutely correct. Laziness, re: getting out to vote, on the part of Democrats, has gotten this country into a lot of trouble. We really do have to change this bad habit. VOTE

    May 9, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  15. justanaverageguy

    Obama wants "his own party" to lose the Senate so he can collude with republicans and try to get what he most wants for his legacy- Social Security cuts

    May 9, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    But... but.... but... American Idol is on that night!!!!!!

    May 9, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  17. Pope Algore

    No wonder Democrats are desperately trying to expand their voting constituency with illegal immigrants, convicts, and felons!

    And that mean ol' wascally voter ID law means it will be hard for illegals and dead people to vote Democrat, which has been the traditional way to "bolster" the Democrat voting ranks.

    At the rate the ObamaCare Train Wreck has already destroyed any hope of Independents cluelessly voting for Democrats again, they're going to need some back fill from somewhere...

    May 9, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Gurgyl

    Just get out and vote straight Democratic ticket.

    May 9, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  19. Rick McDaniel

    They don't get HAND OUTS in mid terms. That's all they vote for.

    May 9, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. loco motion

    Majority of Americans: don't want military intervention in Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, North Korea, Iran, but the gop does, now that's success. Losing over half a million jobs a month, success, tax breaks for the rich, success, grow up, you think the answer is more money to the top, please! How do you think we got here? And if you believe we would be better off under Republican administration, that only proves the gop won't do anything to help unless their in control, that's the real problem.

    May 9, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "and it's our folks that stay home ... "

    Indeed. Which is why it becomes ever more difficult for me to try and continue to support the Democratic party.

    Not going to vote, folks? Then explain to me why I should continue to support your causes for you.

    May 9, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  22. Tony

    Democrats, if you don't want to see the Senate voting 50 times to repeal the ACA and investigating made-up scandals, show up and vote. People in the media spend a lot of time writing articles saying that you won't show up. Let's disappoint them.

    May 9, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. loco motion

    TRH, here's a sad reality for you, in the eyes of the gop, your just another niger. The sooner you realize that the better off we'll all be.

    May 9, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Concerned Educator, Mississippi

    He is absolutely right! It is imperative that we vote in every election. Change happens mostly at the local level. We need to vote for local chancery clerk to the president. VOTE PEOPLE!

    May 9, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |