Why the 2020 election is already very different

The 2020 election isn’t for another 442 days. But people are ready!

Almost 6 in 10 respondents in a new Fox News national poll say they are “extremely” interested in the 2020 election. Reminder: The election isn’t until NEXT November 3.

That number — 57%, to be exact — is all the more remarkable when you compare it with past data on voter interest in elections.

In a Fox News poll conducted November 3-6, 2016 — so, days before the last presidential election — only 54% said they were “extremely” interested in the race. In October 2016, the number was 45%. In June 2016 it was 39%. And in June 2015 — roughly where we are right now in the 2020 cycle — just 3 in 10 people said they were “extremely” interested in the presidential contest.

Go back four more years and the comparison is even more stark. An October 2012 Fox News poll showed 51% saying they were “extremely” interested in the presidential contest. Just 32% said the same in September 2011.

What explains this amazingly interested electorate? Two words: Donald Trump.

Yes, Trump was on the ballot in 2016 — when voter interest was far lower, even on the eve of the election, than it is now — but the broad expectation was that he was going to lose, and maybe do so in a landslide. Now, two and a half years into Trump’s presidency, everyone knows what a Trump presidency looks like and can do in the country.

In fact, both parties seem to have already come to view the 2020 race as the most important in their lifetimes. For Democrats, it represents a chance to not only right a wrong but also to send a message to the country and the world that the United States is better than what Trump has done over his first four years in office. For Republicans, 2020 is their opportunity to prove that 2016 wasn’t a fluke — that the “forgotten men and women” (in Trump’s words) are still out there, still support the President and still have something to prove to the mainstream media, the Democrats and elites of all stripes and sizes.

There is no question — on either side — of the stakes. Which is how you get an electorate already following this election more closely than they did in the final days of each of the last two elections.

The Point: My expectation is that turnout is going to be massive in 2020, way outpacing the 61.4% of eligible voters who turned out in 2016.