Sunday marked the 100th day before the general election. This means Ohioans have to brace themselves for another 100 days of misleading attack ads, robocalls, and mailings – all of which will be on steroids this year thanks to Citizens United. I hope the Supreme Court is paying attention. I have to believe at least a few of the justices will realize their decision should be overturned on equal protection and 8th Amendment grounds as they watch Ohioans being subjected to a cruel and unusual punishment for no other crime than living in a swing state.
But it’s not just the ads that we have to suffer through. We also have 100 more days of listening to the media hyperventilate about everyday events potentially tipping an election we’re told is tight as a drum in the swing state of Ohio. And 100 more days of the media speculating on an electoral college tie even though that’s happened only twice in our history – the last time in 1824!
Here’s the thing to remember about the media coverage: it’s all nonsense. An analysis of recent polling numbers, compared with numbers from previous elections, indicates Ohio won’t be nearly as swingy as the media wants you to believe.
So where does the race stand in Ohio for the “hotly” contested Presidential and Senate race?
Not very close at all. According to RealClearPolitics review of the available public polling in Ohio. President Obama leads in every poll, including Rasmussen, with some beyond the margin of error.
As a comparison, here’s what public polling looked like at this point in 2008 at this point in the race:
So, Obama’s own numbers are better now than they were four years ago. Beyond that, the polling is not as mixed as it was in 2008. Furthermore, if you compared the results of Quinnipiac then and now, and Rasmussen then and now, etc., Obama is polling better now than in 2008. Same thing compared to Bush in Ohio in 2004. Where have you heard this before? Nowhere.
Now, let’s see how U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is doing against the empty suit/absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel (R-Koch Brothers):
Seriously, third-party groups have spent over $11 million attacking Sherrod Brown for awhile now (more money than Brown said he spent in his entire 2006 campaign), and this thing isn’t competitive. No polling shows Mandel ahead. Only Rasmussen shows Brown with a lead that isn’t within the margin of error.
And what the hell … here’s how the Portman-Fisher race looked in 2010 at this point, too:
Mandel is doing worse against Sherrod Brown than DeWine did in 2006, or Lee Fisher was doing against Rob Portman in 2010. We’ve tried to find an example of a statewide race in Ohio in which an opponent in either an open seat or incumbent-challenger race was in the position of Josh Mandel is in 100 days out and yet won. It’s never happened. Never. Ever. Happened.
It’s still 100 days out, and there is certainly a chance of some kind of unpredictable bombshell changing the landscape. In recent history, though, this just hasn’t happened. So why hasn’t anyone pointed this out before?
The losing campaign doesn’t want to to dispirit its supporters (and donors) by pointing out that they’re doing worse in Ohio than McCain in 2008, Kerry in 2004, DeWine in 2006, or Lee Fisher in 2010. That’s kind of a soul crushing realization that makes it harder to get donors or people to make phone calls. So they’re going to stall silent on the issue.
But why not the media? Short answer: if you’re a political media outlet, you want people to buy your paper, visit your website and pay attention to your coverage of the races with religious zeal. But what if the consumer realizes that, using history as a guide, there’s no real tension in these races and we’re just counting down the days until we can tally up the votes and start reporting about the 2014 campaigns instead?
I mean, what kind of media outlet would expect people to come read their coverage if their consumers realize that there’s not much of race because Obama and Brown are polling better now than in their victories in 2008 and 2006? Who would do something that crazy?