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Monday, November 07, 2005

Buckeye Wake-up Call...Is the Fog Lifting?

This in from the DSCC:
This morning, Mike DeWine woke up to find a new statewide poll - with the worrisome headline "Voters appear far from sold on DeWine" - showing him with support from less than one-third of Ohio's voters going into his 2006 re-election bid, a staggering figure for an incumbent. This comes on top of DeWine's quick reaction to the Alito nomination which is drawing criticism.

DeWine Earning Less Than 1/3 of the Vote Against Either Brown or Hackett. A new poll released today by the Columbus Dispatch shows that DeWine is in no place to defeat either of his potential Democratic challengers. If the 2006 election were held today, DeWine would lose 35%-31% to Rep. Sherrod Brown and DeWine is in a statistical dead heat with Paul Hackett. [Columbus Dispatch, 11/7/05]

"Hard to Find a Bright Spot" for DeWine. "[I]t's hard to find a bright spot for an elected official - one who has occupied a statewide office since 1991 (he previously was lieutenant governor) - struggling to get backing from 30 percent of the voters." [Columbus Dispatch, 11/7/05]

More Than 1/3 Of Voters Are Undecided. According to the new survey, more than one-third of Ohio's voters are undecided on the Senate race one year, a very promising number result for the Democratic challenger. [Columbus Dispatch, 11/7/05]

Weekend Editorial Accused DeWine of Rewarding White House for "Kow-Towing" to Conservatives on Alito. After Judge Samuel Alito was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court last week, DeWine, a member of the "Gang of 14" who was criticized by conservatives for his membership earlier this year,
immediately threatened to support the "nuclear option" if Democrats filibuster Alito. This weekend, the Dayton Daily News Editorial Board wrote, "his immediate threat was a mistake. His position is of interest far beyond Ohio - to announce a conclusion instantaneously was not in keeping with the spirit of the compromise, and it rewarded the White House for kow-towing to the party's hardliners." [Dayton Daily News, editorial, 10/5/05; Congressional Quarterly, 11/1/05]

Even DeWine's GOP Colleagues Acknowledge He's In Trouble. Discussing Mike DeWine's response to the Alito nomination last week, fellow Republican Senator and "Gang of 14" member Sen. John McCain said, "Mike DeWine is in a very tough political situation. We all know that." [Congressional
Quarterly, 11/1/05]

And This Isn't the First Bad Poll for DeWine. In a poll conducted for the DSCC, only 31% of Ohio voters said that Mike DeWine deserved re-election. In addition, as of July, DeWine's favorability ratings had dropped from 56% to 48% in just four short months. [DSCC Polling Memo, 7/25/05
This is big news, because any reasonable scenario in which the Dems take back the Senate has to include a DeWine loss. The other ingredients in the Senate Improvement Plan would be Donkey pick-ups in Maine (Olympia Snowe), Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee), Missouri (Jim Talent), Pennsylvania (Rick Santorum....we deplore him) and Tennessee (Bill Frist).

By far the least likely pick-up on this list is Snowe. I'd rate Chafee and Santorum as highly likely upgrades for the residents of RI and PA. DeWine and Talent are possible but tough wins for the Dems.

Frist has said he won't run again, but even he seems to be coming around to the realization that he has no constituency in either party as a presidential candidate; if he really doesn't run again, Harold Ford seems like a decent bet (at least for a reddish state), and if Frist does run again, he might well get beaten.

The scenario above would require the Dems to hold all Senate seats they currently do, together with all 6 pick-ups I've just listed. Personally I don't think Maine is blue enough or Snowe red enough for the Donkey to kick the elephant's butt up there. So realistically, the Dems will need at least one darkhorse win somewhere else in the country.

But even the fact that this discussion is non-laughable is a nice development.....


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