Battleground 16th

The New York Times picked up the John Boccieri race recently, and for good reason. 2008 was to be a re-orientation of the political map with Bush states and districts shifting blue, but time has a funny thing to do with expectations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/11/us/politics/11ohio.html

I’ve only come across one recent poll and one taken after the May primary, and both have Boccieri losing by double digits. The OH-16 region (Medina, Akron, Canton) had been represented for over 20 years by Ralph Regula, a moderate Republican who would certainly not be fan of the Tea-Party-types today. But while this district had put in a person who is not a fan of the far right, it does not seem to want to re-elect a person who has behaved as a supporter of the far left.

From May, we have this poll – http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/independent-poll-shows-democrat-incumbent-john-boccieri-trailing-challenger-jim-renacci-by-13-points-in-bellweather-ohio-congressional-race-94769384.html

and then from August we have this poll – http://americanactionforum.org/files/OH%2016%20Toplines.pdf

both of which have Republican challenger Jim Renacci up by double-digits.

These polls, especially looking at the last poll, show people in this district are predominantly conservative, moderately to low income and are not supportive of the Obama agenda.

If there were any courage with the House Democrats, then they would have decided early into their terms to selectively but firmly stand up to Nancy Pelosi. After they caved once and then twice, they sealed their fate. Parker Griffith of Alabama did stand up to the Democrats, switched parties to the Republicans, and then was promptly voted out in the primary. I doubt very much that anyone who is trying to straddle the line will get any support whatsoever.  The argument “I oppose now what I voted for then” is simply too difficult to make.

Looking into the Columbus Dispatch Poll

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/09/05/copy/gop-resurgent.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

This Labor Day poll from the Columbus Dispatch puts Portman up by 13 over Fisher and Kasich up by 12 over Strickland. RealClearPolitics factored this poll into their running average of polls and now places the Ohio Senate and Governor’s races as “Leans Republican.” But there’s a reason “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” is a quote that will live forever. The DailyKos got in trouble earlier this year because their polling company had some consistent errors that favored Democrats, and I’m not at all suggesting that the Columbus poll is intentionally skewed. I am saying, however, the size of the Republican lead caused me to look further.

First of all, there are three populations which frequently get polled: adults, registered voters, and likely voters. Apparently we can conclude that Democrats are less apt to vote because the results of a poll generally become more conservative the more you limit the population. This Columbus poll measured registered voters, which would suggest that the likely voter numbers would give Kasich and Portman a larger margin.

But most importantly was the question: for whom did you vote for President in 2008. Obama, of course, won Ohio with 51.5% of the vote, but based on the answers given by the respondents, John McCain should have won 53-47. Of course people may not want to admit voting for Barack Obama, but more likely this poll is skewed a few points toward the Republicans.

With that in mind, we can still look at some interesting points within the data.  For instance, 23% of Strickland voters in 2006 have already abandoned him for Kasich in 2010.  About two-thirds of the undecided vote are Democrats who sided with Obama and Strickland in the past.  While a majority of the Democrat support is female, the majority of females in this survey do not support the Democrats.  By a slim margin, more women favor Kasich and Portman than the Democrats, although women also make up a greater proportion of the undecided vote.

Income and age are also two interesting points to look at.  That younger voters are more liberal is not a surprise, and Fisher and Strickland do lead in the 18-24 demographic.  But their support drops 20 POINTS when you go to the 25-34 group with Republicans and undecideds picking up the balance.  Also the individuals with a lower income tend to support Democrats, and in this survey it seems that those making over $40,000 swing sharply to the Republicans.

This is still a favorable poll for Republicans, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see another double-digit lead in future polls.  Reading and listening to Democrats, they tend to think that Strickland has the better chance of the two to win on Election Night.  There was a point, however, that they didn’t want to give up on the Senate because of the “House Coattails,” which is not something I’ve heard before.  If House members need to rely on the coattails of their Senate candidate, these guys are in big trouble!

Zach Space: Living with the Decisions You’ve Made

With Barack Obama in office and eager and willing liberal Democrats in the Capital, a whirlwind of legislation passed that may never have passed in other circumstances. This was all well and good for liberal groups, but not so much for young Democrat legislators tiptoeing through moderate districts. Tea Parties and the angry townhall meetings were an outlet for the frustration of many people who understand government encroachments on personal freedom.

Apparently Tea Party activists aren’t the only ones with long memories. The SEIU in Ohio is asking members to withhold their vote in the 18th district because Zach Space voted against the final Health Care bill. (Jason Altmire across the river in PA-4 made a similar vote and has similar non-support from SEIU.)

http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20100903/NEWS01/9030305/1002/Some-unions-won-t-back-Space-in-House-race
http://www.skipaspace.com/

Zach Space won his seat in 2006, the first wave of anti-Republican votes. 2006 introduced most of us to Mark Foley and his text messages, helped us to better understand the word “makaka,” and gave K Street the name, face, and hat of Jack Abramoff. One of the congressmen caught up in the scandal was Bob Ney, who had represented the 18th since he won an upset for the open Democrat seat in 1994. The 18th district is a mixture of rural areas and small Appalachia towns through southeastern central Ohio.

Challenging Space is Bob Gibbs, who barely won the nomination over a Tea Party-backed candidate and six others in the May primary. Gibbs has a long history in pork production (as in hogs, not government spending) before joining the Ohio House in 2002, and I’m not convinced the RINO charges made in the primary are entirely appropriate. He’d certainly be a good addition to Congress, and with our support and Space’s lack of support, he should be well on his way.

http://keyhouseraces.com/content/spotlight-oh-18th-congressional-district