Emotions have run high in the 2016 cycle, with turnout in GOP primaries drastically higher than in past presidential elections. While Democratic turnout is down from Barack Obama’s first election in 2008, a new poll shows Clinton supporters are the most electorally engaged of the remaining candidates.
Brand Keys, the research consultancy, conducted an electoral engagement poll with 4,300 respondents of Democratic, Republican and Independent inclinations.
Electoral engagement scores are based on how the polling sample perceives a candidate, in comparison with the sample’s notion of an ‘Ideal President’ (calibrated to 100%). The “engagement assessments,” explains Brand Keys president and founder Robert Passikoff, “measure what consumers [in this case voters] think -- as opposed to what they say they think.”
Hillary Clinton scored an 88% candidate assessment, compared to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 80% and Donald Trump at 79%. The engagement scores were based on four drivers: Action, Compassion, Perception and Resolve.
The engagement drivers help define what is “important to Democrats, Republican, and Independents,” notes Passikoff, “resulting, as one might expect, in different party views, voter standards, and candidate preferences.”
The ideal Republican president has the following electoral engagement drivers, in order of importance: 1. Resolve, 2. Perception, 3. Action, 4. Compassion.
The Democratic ideal looks as follows: 1. Perception, 2. Resolve, 3. Compassion, 4. Action. The differences are notable, as Democrats give more importance to a “deep understanding of the problems facing the country” (Perception) than the qualities of “strength and leadership” (Resolve).
The Independent voter takes a mixed approach to an ideal president. The first two most important qualities fit that of a Republican voter: 1. Resolve, 2. Perception. On the other hand, Compassion, “caring about all the people,” comes next with Action rounding out the ideal Independent candidate.
Similarities between the Independent and Republican electoral engagement drivers point to more likely overlap between those groups than between Independents and Democrats. Then again, a lifelong Independent is running as a Democrat, so we may see an unexpected turnover between those two.
Interestingly, Sanders scored the lowest out of all three candidates on the Action engagement driver. Sanders had a 70% score, compared to Clinton with 94%, pointing to a lack of confidence that Sanders has “comprehensive and realistic” plans for the country.
Since 1992, the polling model used has correctly predicted the winner of the U.S. presidency, except for 2000, where the model predicted an Al Gore win. (It could not have predicted the Supreme Court would decide the election.)