No Republican in modern history has made it to the White House without winning Ohio, and, for that reason, Mitt Romney has been spending a disproportionate amount of time crisscrossing the buckeye state with relevant, of-the-moment cultural icons who can really help him connect with the masses, like super-wealthy golf course designer Jack Nicklaus, and talking about how his heart “aches” when he thinks about the struggles of the working poor in America. But the people of Ohio, contrary to what many here in Michigan might think, aren’t stupid. They heard what Romney had to say about the freeloading 47% when he thought that he was talking off-the-record, in front of a select group of fellow millionaires, and they remember that it was Romney who, in the pages of the New York Times, argued against Obama’s auto bailout, saying that we should, let Detroit go bankrupt. And, the anti-Romney ads aren’t helping. In particular, it looks as though one ad, about a profitable paper plant in Marion, Indiana that Romney purchased and shuttered while leading Bain Capital, may be resonating with Ohio voters. According to NPR, more than 1/6 of this paticular ad’s over 2 million online views have been in Ohio. Here it is.
And, as a result of all of this, and the fact that the unemployment rate has been steadily dropping in Ohio under Obama, Romney is getting beaten up in the statewide polls to an extent that no one thought possible.
According to the Talking Points Memo poll tracker, Romney is presently down by almost 7 points, with slightly more than half of all voters indicating that they plan to vote to reelect the President. Nate Silver at the New York Times, who currently has Romney down by 5.3% in Ohio, says that, as of right now, there’s an 86% chance that Obama will win the state.
There are scenarios where Romney could win the White House without Ohio, but it would be an uphill battle, especially if Romney’s wealthy supporters begin to invest their dollars in other campaigns, in hopes of retaking the Senate, or holding the House. And there’s evidence that this is beginning to happen. The following clip comes from Fox Business.
The Romney campaign is experiencing what some officials believe could be the beginning of a mass exodus of big money donors diverting their cash away from the Republican presidential hopeful and toward Republican candidates for the House and Senate races more likely to win in November, the FOX Business Network has learned.
The trend isn’t at the acute stage, at least not yet, said one person with direct knowledge of the matter. This person, a major player in Romney’s New York fundraising circles, confirmed to FOX Business that a few New York donors have backed away from financial commitments to the Romney campaign and instead said they will spend their money to help the Republicans hold on to the House of Representatives, and pick up seats in the Senate…
Of course, this is no time to begin celebrating. Anything could happen over the next several weeks, and, as we’ve noted before voter suppression efforts are in full swing in Ohio, and there’s a chance that we’ll see unprecedented voter disenfranchisement come Election Day. So, don’t stop knocking on doors, contributing to the campaigns of your favorite politicians, and offering to drive your friends and neighbors to the polls. And, if you happen to be in Ohio, for god’s sake, please register to vote. You have until October 9, and you can find all the information you need here.
Also, as long as we’re talking about Ohio, right now things also look good for Senator Sherrod Brown, who I had the pleasure of hearing speak several times at the Netroots Nation conference earlier this summer. When many other Senators, afraid of the onslaught from the Koch brothers and their ilk, ran to the right, Brown stood his ground, proudly defending Obamacare, taking credit for having been behind the auto bailout, and pledging his unwavering support by Ohio’s unions. And, it seems to be working. Here’s a clip from Politico.
…“You voted for the stimulus and ‘Obamacare’; you voted for reckless spending,” blared one Crossroads GPS ad directed at Brown. “No more blank checks.”
Brown hasn’t moved an inch in his politics. But the polls have. Though the two were tied in early August, recent polling showed Brown 7 percentage points to 9 percentage points ahead of (Josh) Mandel.
“Voters look for authenticity. I think they look askance at someone who changes their opinions and positions at election time,” Brown said in an interview. “You stand for something, and you stay with it. I think voters will reward that. I don’t think of this as a strategy; I think this is who I am, and this is why I run for office.”
Strategy or not, senators like Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have moved noticeably to the political middle since their elections in 2006. But unlike Missouri or Montana, Ohio’s swing-state status gives Brown more leeway to tout his record. His support for things like the auto bailout, which remains popular in the state, give Brown an edge among Ohio’s blue-collar class.
His support for “Obamacare” could end up being a key split between Brown and the electorate. Ohio voters rejected the Affordable Care Act when they passed the Health Care Freedom amendment last November, a mostly symbolic rebuke of the law.
When Brown ousted Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006, a year that was terrible for Republicans around the country, he ran on a very similar socially liberal, populist economic message. Then a congressman, Brown was initially viewed by some as “too liberal” to win statewide election. But he was able to connect with white working-class voters and beat DeWine by wide margins among union households and the middle- and lower-income families.
Instead of shifting, Brown is betting that formula will work for him again.
“Fundamentally, the voters don’t see left to right, liberal or conservative, but they want to know if you are on their side,” he said. “When it comes to the auto rescue, when it comes to China currency manipulation, when it comes to a health care plan, people understand I am on their side.”…
It’s one thing to win a race. It’s another to win a race with dignity. Sherrod, I’m hoping, will do both come November. If you’d like to contribute a few dollars to his campaign, you can do so here.