While the horserace is all knotted up, there’s a wide gap when it comes to motivation. Three-quarters of Obama supporters say their vote is for him, with just 23% saying they’re voting against Romney. Only 37% of Romney supporters say their vote is for their candidate, with nearly six in ten saying their vote is against Obama.
Yup. This is called “referendum voting.” In presidential elections where there is an incumbent running, voters usually vote either for or against the incumbent, not for or against the challenger. This has been the case for at least the last sixty years since political scientists began analyzing elections with public opinion data, and we see that it will likely be the case this time around.