Real Clear Politics reports on a survey carried out by liberal groups and interpreted by Stan Greenberg, a Democratic Party pollster. So you have to start by wading through a lot of spin:
Democratic voters are skeptics this summer.
They doubt presidential contenders can deliver favored reforms from Washington, no matter how enticing the policy agendas sound. Those doubts depress enthusiasm about next year’s White House contest and could impact turnout for the eventual Democratic nominee.
Their skepticism doesn’t turn on the idea of a Democratic nominee who would follow a two-term Democrat, President Obama. “It’s because the old political system is uniquely corrupted” in their eyes, Greenberg said. “What matters is how deep the critique people have about what’s happening in the country, both politically and economically.” …
To succeed Obama, a Democratic candidate has to animate secular voters and what Greenberg calls the rising American electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters). These slices of the population will make up a majority of the total electorate for the first time in 2016, according to the pollster.
Near the end, you come to the point:
The threat comes down to an enthusiasm gap of 19 points between the Democrats who say they are “extremely interested” in the congressional and local races in 2016, and the much more energized GOP voters.
19 points is a huge difference. After 6 1/2 years of Barack Obama, Democrats are dispirited. Not much has gone right, unless you think the absence of gay marriage used to be the world’s biggest problem. Sea level hasn’t changed noticeably, and race relations have rarely been worse. Republicans, on the other hand, are not just energized, but outraged. A lot can happen in 16 months, but I would be surprised if events cause Republican-leaning voters to think the election isn’t so important after all. Therein lies a huge advantage for the GOP.