Wednesday, October 3, 2012


It has been a mystery why Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has been polling relatively close to Democratic United States Senator Sherrod Brown.

Brown has been a political factor in Ohio since 1974 when he was elected to the Ohio House (1975 - 1982).  He continued his political trek in being elected to and serving as Ohio secretary of state (1983 - 1991), U.S. House of Representatives (1993 - 2007) and, of course, as U.S. senator ever since.

Mandel, (who, before running for office, was a Democrat) on the other hand, has only been engaged in Ohio politics since 2006 when he was elected to the Ohio House (2007 - 2010). In 2010 he ran for and was elected Ohio treasurer.  No sooner had he taken office at the Ohio treasury, he was fueling speculation that the treasury was merely a political holding place for him and that he aimed at taking on Brown.

On August 26th The Columbus Dispatch published a poll showing Brown and Mandel tied at 44% each.

Well, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the mysteriously close numbers may beginning may be mirage of sorts.

To The Report, for Mandel to be tied with Brown did not make sense.  For back in 2006 when Brown took on sitting United States Senator Mike DeWine, he ended up with about a 15% margin of victory.

2006 was a Democratic year.  It was a year in which Democrat Ted Strickland pummeled Republican Ken Blackwell and the anemic Democratic Ohio House Caucus was able to wrestle control of the Ohio House from the Republicans.

So the SCPR wasn't expecting Brown to repeat a 15% margin in 2012 no matter who the Republicans put up.

2012 is not going to be a banner Democratic year.

But Democrats - nationwide - are doing better than expected given a better that 8% unemployment rate.

Ohio's unemployment rate is in the low 7% range which is a factor which should benefit President Obama, Senator Brown and a number of down ticket Democrats inasmuch as Obama is claiming his bailout of the auto industry has particularly benefiting Ohio and it seems the voting public is buying.

Hence a poll published by The Dispatch on Monday of this week shows Obama ahead (9%) and Brown ahead by 10% (49 to 39).

At 49 percent, Brown is very close to the magic eletoral victory number of 50% plus one.

While The Report does not necessarily expect Brown to duplicate the 15% victory over DeWine (now Ohio's attorney general), it could happen especially if the President continues to widen his polling margin over Republican Mitt Romney.

There is no reason to believe - Mandel's prostestations to the contrary that his candidacy is tied to Romney's- that there is any distinguishing quality about Mandel that separates him from Romney.

He became Ohio's treasurer in 2010 which was a banner Republican year in which the GOP took control of the U.S. House.  This was the year that Republican Jim Renacci (the 16th which then included all of Stark County) took out incumbent Democrat John Boccieri and Republican Bill Johnson defeated incumbent Democrat Charlie Wilson in Ohio's 6th congressional district.

Other than his 2010 victory, Mandel's Ohio House seat was from a safe Republican district (the 17th).

A better case can be made that Brown may run better in Ohio that Obama.

Comparing his 2006 margin of victory of 15% over DeWine to Obama's narrowly winning Ohio in 2008, there is potential that Brown could survive an Obama collapse in the final 30 days of the 2012 election.

Brown did ten percentage point better than Obama comparing 2006 to 2008.

However, each and every election does bring a different dynamic to it and one should not make too much of the disparity that suggests that Brown may be a stronger candidate than President Obama.

But at least Brown has some statistical basis for thinking he might survive an Obama collapse at the polls.

The SCPR believes that should Mitt Romney stay about nine or ten points below Obama over the next 30 days that he will surely lose Ohio and there is no basis whatsoever to support Mandel's chatter that he could survive a Romney collapse.

The SCPR believes that Sherrod Brown will be re-elected to the U.S. Senate no matter how the presidential race plays out.

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