The looming Obama enthusiasm gap

An interesting article surfaced in the Washington Post this week.  Jonathan Capehart points out that the Democrats may face much stiffer challenger in 2014 and 2016 when Barack Obama is not on the ballot to energize key voting blocs.

In particular, he discusses how when certain minority populations are asked about their enthusiasm in supporting Democrats if the president isn’t on the ballot, the support tumbles.

A slide from the NAACP’s battleground poll shows how real a concern about minority turnout post-Obama is. The president got 93 percent of the African American vote. But when black Democrats in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia were asked whether they would be enthusiastic about Democrats without Obama on the ballot, support nose-dives.

How precipitous is this change? Very:

Democrats are looking at a 14-point drop in enthusiasm among African Americans in their support for the party’s 2016 nominee without Obama. The drop among those described as “very enthusiastic” is 32 points, from 79 percent to 47 percent.

Certainly, Democrats will move to consolidate their gains just as eagerly as Republicans will move to roll them back. Looking ahead to 2016, when many on the left assume that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee, the Republicans might be very well positioned should they (wisely) put forward an effective, young conservative like Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, or Paul Ryan for president.