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Where's the Blue Wave in Ohio?

According to two recent polls, state Senator Troy Balderson, the GOP's nominee for the August 7th special election in Ohio's 12th congressional district, is running strongly ahead of his Democratic opponent, Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor.

Republican candidate Troy Balderson

A Monmouth survey completed on June 10th found that Senator Balderson has the support of 48% of the district, compared to only 39% for O'Connor.

A more recent JMC Analytics poll, which was finalized on June 16th, found that O'Connor polled at only 35% while Balderson maintained 46% of the vote.

The polls show that Balderson is already outperforming empirical expectations. According to Vox, "The Cook Political Report places the district as R+7 and rates the race as a toss-up," revealing that Balderson is beating the partisan lean by up to four points, no small feat amid anti-GOP turbulence.

In addition to being a display of the GOP strength in Ohio, Balderson's poll numbers are an indication that unlike Pennsylvania special election nominee Rick Saccone, Balderson won't be entering election day with only the party name on his side. He is a popular nominee in his own right, and he won't be bogged down by the personal attributes that consumed Saccone along with flawed Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore.

On the other hand, O'Connor's underperformance is a bad sign for the Democrats, who are hoping to replicate the success that they enjoyed in the Pennsylvania race. A report in the The New York Times read,

The special election, which will take place 13 weeks before Election Day, will offer clues of Democratic strength, particularly on the kind of suburban terrain that will be critical in numerous races this fall as Democrats try to wrest control of the House.

If the polls in Ohio's 12th are any indication, the Democrats may have to stomach some tough "clues" regarding their Rust Belt strength (or lack thereof).

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