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Democrats enjoy a huge party registration advantage in midterms.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Axios published two articles that offered Democrats conflicting outlooks for the November mid-terms. The first article claimed “Democrats’ Senate dream slips away.” It cited new polls showing that Democrats were likely to lose three seats and gain two in Senate races, which would prevent them from flipping the Senate.

As several critics pointed out, this story relied on over-reading polls that actually showed key races were extremely close.

A more cheerful view of Democratic hopes came in a report that focused not on polls but on registered voters, where the Democrats enjoy a formidable advantage. “Among the 31 states (plus D.C.) with party registration, there are nearly 12 million more registered Democrats than Republicans,” Axios reports. “40% of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, 29% are Republicans, and 28% are independents.”

These registration numbers are a window into the crucial issue of enthusiasm. In the midterms, the motivation of the base can make the difference in close races. Along with the evidence of special elections and higher turnout, the Democratic advantage in registration bodes well for the party’s chances in the fall.