1. The GOP’s enthusiasm advantage: The evidence that Republicans are more excited about this election than Democrats continues to mount. A memo released Thursday by the Republican polling and advocacy shop Resurgent Republic found that 62 percent of Republicans were “extremely enthusiastic” about voting in November, versus just 49 percent of Democrats. Gallup’s recent polling found Democrats less excited about voting than anytime since 2004. Intuitively, this makes sense: Many of Obama’s supporters seem weary and disillusioned, while Republicans, though they may not be thrilled with Romney, seem thoroughly fired up to get rid of the president. The Resurgent Republic poll found enthusiasm particularly lagging among young voters and Hispanics, two major parts of Obama’s 2008 coalition. But it’s worth taking these numbers with a grain of salt: According to Gallup, Democrats were far more enthusiastic than Republicans in 2004. It wasn’t exactly a ticket to victory.
2. The economic drumbeat: Every month, a new jobs report comes out, and every month, the news is the same: tepid positive growth and barely a quaver of the unemployment rate. This has been the trend for most of the past year, and unless something dramatic happens, it’s likely to continue, exacerbating with each repetition voters’ impression of an economy stuck in neutral. There are three more jobs reports before the election, including one scheduled for release on Nov. 2, just four days before the vote. Each one brings an opportunity for Romney to sell his promise for change and economic turnaround, while Obama is stuck repeating two difficult-to-sell arguments: That things could be even worse, and that he has a plan — it’s just not one Congress has any interest in acting on. As Derek Thompson has noted, based on the economic fundamentals, Obama ought to be doing much worse than he is.