The presidential debates this month not only allowed Mitt Romney to break through the caricature of him painted by Obama and the media, they breathed life into the GOP base. At the end of the summer conventions, Democrat voters expressed more interest in the election than Republicans. According to new research from Pew, however, the Democrats’ advantage evaporated in October. With less than two weeks to go, the GOP has a substantial lead in voter enthusiasm.

At the close of the two parties’ conventions, 66% of Democrats said they were interested in the coming election, against just 50% of Republicans. Today, however, the same 66% of Democrats express interest, but GOP interest has rocketed to 73%, a 23-point movement. Moreover, Independents’ interest in the election has also increased markedly, rising from 45% in September to 56% today. Virtually every poll shows Romney with the advantage among Independents.

Democrats interest in the current election is substantially off levels seen in 2008. In October, 2008, 80% of Democrats expressed an interest in the election, a full 14 points higher than seen today. Republican interest, meanwhile, is up slightly. In 2008, 70% of GOP voters were interested in the election; today 73% are.

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