Remember that enthusiasm gap from the 2010 election that was oh-so-deadly for Democrats? It looks like it hung around for the debt ceiling fight as well.
A telephone poll by the Pew Research Center for People and Press found that Republicans and Tea Party-affiliated respondents both paid more attention to the debt negotiations and were more likely to take action to influence the outcome.
Some 66% of the two groups followed news on the issue closely versus only 34% of those who had different views or did not offer a political opinion. Nor were they passive observers: some 20% of Republicans and Tea Partiers contacted an elected official during the standoff while only 5% of the rest did the same. This despite a direct appeal from President Obama to do exactly that.
As was the case in the midterm election, age was a crucial factor. Only 19% of 18-29 year-olds followed the story closely and 1% contacted an official versus 54% of those over 50 who followed the debate and 16% who contacted an official.
The numbers suggest that Democrats still have a ways to go before they fully reactivate the base voters that powered them into the White House in 2008.
Ed. Note - This article was corrected on August 6, 2011, to amend an incorrect figure. The article previously stated that 66% of Republicans or Tea Partiers surveyed claimed to have contacted an elected official. The correct number is 20%.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.