Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ohio 13 Check-in, Pt. 1: Betty You Bet [Updated]

The OH-13 race is over, but I’m blogging it anyway. I have some things to say, but mostly it’s nostalgia. It will be a long time before anything in bloglife is as fun as the Oh-13 Dem primary was. Not only is this race a laugher, the tone of the campaign has been dispiriting. No, not even a half-hour infomercial, complete with faux-Oprah audience participation, can rescue this one.

How over is the campaign? The Sutton camp released a internal poll showing a commanding lead:
It’s all there. Over 50%, lots of lead, winning across the district. And this before Sutton has really started much in the way of media or mail campaigning. Over. Over. Over.

But.

While Sutton is running away with the race, she is nonetheless underperforming. Sherrod Brown won 69% of the vote in 2002 and 67% in 2004.

The 2002 result is especially jarring. That was the first time Sherrod ran in the newly-reconfigured 13th which added large swatches of Summit County to the district. It was also the year BushCo. had rigged the Iraq War resolution which put Dems in a box and led to significant midterm gains. Sherrod voted against the resolution, giving his opponent a blue-collar-friendly campaign issue. Nonetheless, he pulled down nearly seventy percent.

While incumbency counts for a lot, it’s hard to account for a 13% underperformance in a watershed year for Dems. You have to wonder how this race would play in a different year.

Why is she underperforming and what does it mean? Good questions. Stay tuned . . .

Addendum: A Betty supporter emails to tell me that the Average Democratic Performance in the district is 55%. That's probably what Gore and Kerry got. I'm sure someone is working on those numbers now to send me.

A fair point -- Betty is outperforming Democrats. But this is a year when Democrats are outperforming Democrats across the board. This a year when Republicans are sweating the result in Idaho's First. Foltin has done some things well to be sure, but there are other reasons why Betty hasn't quite set the world on fire.

2 comments:

blogginryan said...

Given that this is an "open" seat, I think she's doing quite well, Pho. Betty doesn't have the power of entrenched incumbent as Sherrod did. If she's polling like this in '08, different ballgame.

54cermak said...

Once the undecideds break, Sutton will probably end up around 60, so only underperforming Sherrod by 7. Not bad for an open seat.