Hardly Anyone Cares About The Midterms

Cillizza faces facts:

Just 15 percent of Americans said they were following the 2014 midterm elections “very closely” in the past week, according to polling released Monday by the Pew Research Center. That’s less than half the number that said they were tracking the Ebola virus (36 percent) story or the reports on the U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (31 percent). It’s also less than the 21 percent of people paying close attention to the problems at the Secret Service. …

Most people do not care about midterm elections. Like, at all. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough.  The election is in one month from tomorrow and it remains a back-of-the-mind story for most people. Midterms are largely battles between the two party bases, the most energetic partisans who follow this stuff as closely as, well, me.

But Ponnuru urges us to pay attention:

[S]ome races have an importance for our political future that goes beyond the question of who runs the Senate.

The Senate race in Arkansas, for example, is not only one of the most competitive contests in the country. It’s also a race that will tell us whether Democrats are beginning to have the kind of turnout success in midterm elections that they’ve had in presidential ones. Black turnout in Arkansas has been low — which means that if Democrats’ efforts to get out the vote are going to succeed, we ought to see the evidence there.

The Kansas governor’s race will tell us whether it’s possible to go too far with an agenda of tax cuts even in a reliably Republican state. If Republican Governor Sam Brownback — whose aggressive tax cuts have led to deepening revenue shortfalls and a debt downgrade — loses, others in his party will conclude that the answer is yes. They will take that lesson especially seriously if Brownback brings down Republican Senator Pat Roberts with him.