A FiveThirtyEight Chat

Welcome to FiveThirtyEight’s weekly politics chat. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

micah (Micah Cohen, politics editor): With former President Barack Obama’s return to the campaign trail in the last week or so, here’s our overarching question for today: Who does Obama motivate more in 2018, Democrats or Republicans?

I’m thinking first we talk a bit about what we know about Obama’s sway among Democrats. Then we dive into his standing among Republicans. Then we see how they compare. Sound good?

nrakich (Nathaniel Rakich, elections analyst): But I have numbers, Micah. Numbers that will obviate the need for this chat in the first place.

micah: $100 says that’s not true.

In any case, to start with what may be a dumb question: Democratic voters love Obama, right?

clare.malone (Clare Malone, senior political writer): Well, his role seems to be that of elder statesman and moral force. Most Democrats seem to be ignoring for now that they really hated (or were at least less than thrilled with) some of his policies … drone strikes and some immigration policies, for example.

But the Obama-is-above-reproach sentiment is en vogue for Democrats right now because there’s lots of stuff to reproach President Trump for. Obama’s very feel-good.

perry (Perry Bacon Jr., senior writer): According to the Pew Research Center, 51 percent of Democrats say Obama is the best president of their lifetime. That’s way above Bill Clinton at 19 percent.

So, yes.