Rich Baehr on the 'Enthusiasm Gap'

The featured article this morning at Pajamas Media is from AT's very own Political Correspondent Rich Baehr, who examines the primaries held this past week and sees the "enthusiasm gap" writ large:

The bigger picture of the four contests this week was captured by Sean Trende in an article for RealClearPolitics. All year there has been a huge enthusiasm gap between conservatives and Republican voters and liberals and Democratic voters. This was validated again this week.

During the primary season in the 2008 campaign, the tight contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was used as an explanation for the very high turnout throughout the Democratic primaries. Each of the two candidates had a strong appeal to blocs of voters - Clinton to women, blue-collar voters, and Hispanics; Obama to the intelligentsia, students, and African Americans. The GOP fight ended much earlier than the Obama-Clinton match, and by March, John McCain was the clear winner.

But even during the competitive phase of the GOP primary race, GOP turnout lagged far behind Democratic turnout. The Democratic contest drew record turnouts for a primary in state after state. It is obvious in retrospect that voters were turning out for the Democratic primaries because they thought that the winner of this contest would be the next president. Voters were more enthusiastic about both of the Democratic contenders than any of the Republicans who ran in 2008.

The GOP primaries this week drew turnout that was double or triple the Democratic primary turnout in the same states, and in individual House districts, the ratio of Republican primary voters to Democratic Party primary votes was at the highest level in years. And just as in 2008, the differential can not be explained away as solely a factor of more competitive primaries on the GOP side than on the Democratic side.

Rich also takes on the media narrative from the week that tried to paint the tea party movement - and Sarah Palin - as the big losers.

Read Rich's entire, enlightening piece.