A Democratic Bloodbath in Ohio?

With the past few days given over to Democratic triumphalism, the reality is that the big picture remains roughly the same for Democrats. In Ohio, it's getting so bad for Democrats that the Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee are actively weighing their level of commitment. 

Public and private polling from the state suggests that Democrats will lose the governor's mansion, currently held by Ted Strickland, the Senate race (for an open seat that was held by a Republican), and at least four House races (OH 01, OH 15, OH 13, OH 16). Strickland's troubles have surprised some Democrats, since he's seemed to defy gravity for much of the year.

But he's suffering now from the same fate that Bill Ritter in Colorado did: he pulled in a lot of independent votes, wasn't seen as overly partisan, and now, thanks to the shift in the composition of the independent electorate and a lack of enthusiasm from his base, is simply less popular. Obviously, the economy pulls down the ratings of even the best governors. Some Ohio Democrats think Strickland has allowed himself to be associated too much with the White House, turning this once independent-seeming guy into a prop. The federal mud might have stuck. Also, John Kasich is a heck of a communicator who says the right things and doesn't have the Bush-Republican taint.He leads among independents by double-digits, according to recent polling.

A bit of good news for the struggling House Dems, like Steve Driehaus in the competitive first congressional district, which spans parts of Cincinnati and its suburbs: Organizing for America, the DNC's campaign arm, hasn't given up. Unfortunately for him, however, there is anecdotal evidence that many voters have.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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