Ballot Initiative Update: ND Income Tax Cut

This past week, 15,677 signatures were filed with the North Dakota Secretary of State's office for the Income Tax Cut Inititiave. Sponsored by the North Dakota chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the initiative, if certified for the November ballot, would slash North Dakota's state corporate income tax rates by 15 percent and the individual income tax rates by 50 percent starting in 2009.

Apparently, North Dakota exepcts a budget surplus of anywhere between $700 million to $1 billion next year, so supporters of the initiative are looking for both tax relief and restrained government spending during these "sunny days." Smart!

But the AARP is opposing the measure because "it would hamper state and local governments’ and school boards’ ability to respond to emergencies or shifting priorities in the future." The North Dakota Farm Bureau is also opposing the measure citing "worries that it would place the burden of spending on increased property taxes." Now maybe North Dakota should start a government "rainy day fund" that is concomitant with this tax cut, but it's amazing what poor excuses are made to not cut taxes. (But I invite any North Dakotans to explain why voting Yes on this inititiave would be a bad idea.)

This will be the second income tax related ballot initiative this year, joining the Massachusetts Income Tax Repeal. While well intentioned, the Massachusetts initiative is a bit extreme as it would completely get rid of the 5.3% tax on wages.

With so much focus on the national economy during this presidential election cycle, there has been a lot of emphasis on the candidates' tax and economic growth policies. Folks in the broader national conservative movement need to realize that not only do local and state taxes have just as much of an effect on the economy as national taxes do; state and local tax, budget, government transparency, and other localized bread and butter issues can help build our farm team, as previously discussed.

Not Livin' Large in Ohio, Folks Can't Even Afford Meat?


That's it. NPR has declared Ohio a disaster area. Things are so bad. NPR gravely warns, that folks in the Buckeye state can't even afford to buy meat for their dinner tables anymore. It's the end of civilization as we know it. Doom and gloom. Oh the humanity. It's the end of the world as we know it... at least for one Ohio family that NPR found to act as stand in for the rest of the state. To NPR all of Ohio is the Nunez family. And what is NPR' solution? Government aid, of course.

In a segment of All Things Considered (well, all things but common sense, anyway), NPR gives us Gloria Nunez whose family, we are told, was "built on cars." NPR gives us all sorts of sobbing, rending of clothes, wearing of sackcloth and gnashing of teeth for the Nunez', of course. But even NPR can't hide some of the glaring problems that Gloria and her family have surely brought upon themselves.

In fact, her story sounds like the scene in the old Blues Brothers movie where John Belushi is on his knees pleading with Carrie Fischer to forgive him. There was a flood, he whined, locusts came, it was the end of the world, it REALLY wasn't his fault, he swore to God. Similarly we get the tale that Gloria Nunez' car broke down, she can't find a job, she had a car accident that left her "depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job." She is now somehow forced to live on a "$637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps." Naturally, none of it is her fault. All the seeds for the common welfare tale are there.

'I Just Can't Get A Job'

Nunez, 40, has never worked and has no high school degree. She says a car accident 17 years ago left her depressed and disabled, incapable of getting a job. Instead, she and her daughter, Angelica Hernandez, survive on a $637 Social Security check and $102 in food stamps.

Hernandez received her high school diploma and has had several jobs in recent years. But now, because fewer restaurants and stores are hiring, she says she finds it hard to find a job. Even if she could, she says it's particularly hard to imagine how she'll keep it. She says she needs someone to give her a lift just to get to an interview. And with gas prices so high, she's not sure she could afford to pay someone to drive her to work every day.

There are all sorts of extended family members mentioned in this little tale of woe. Greandmothers, sisters, daughters. But one glaring absence might dawn on the reader. No where in the story is a mention of a Mr. Nunez living with the family and trying to provide for them. No where do we see contemporaneously included in this tale a Father or husband.

There is one tiny little thing tucked into this story, though, that might escape notice. At least it is something that seems to have escaped the notice of too many Americans who sit about expecting some magical employment fairy to float down out of the sky and hand them a $50,000 dollar a year job and who, while they wait, sponge off the rest of us with state aid and Federal benefits.

The only employer within walking distance is a ThyssenKrupp factory that makes diesel engine parts. That facility, which employs 400 people, is shutting down and moving to Illinois next year.

The ThyssenKrupp factory is moving to greener pastures, to greater opportunity, to a better, more lucrative environment.

One must wonder why don't the Nunez.' In fact, why aren't a large number of Americans moving to where the jobs are?

There have been many, many periods in American history when large numbers of Americans have uprooted themselves and moved to where there was a better opportunity to make their mark in life. "Go west young man" was once a rallying cry for an American diaspora. The wagon trains rolled by the thousands at a time when such travel often resulted in death. The dust bowl years saw many of those living in the near west moving to California, the land of milk and honey. After the turn of the century, hundreds of thousands moved from the south to the north when work became plentiful there -- especially for America's southern black population. Even recently, the south began to fill back up as work became more plentiful there. And there were many more eras of internal shifts in population that I didn't mention here. They all moved when a certain section of the country became stagnant and another offered opportunity.

Today it is the west that once again needs great numbers of Americans to move there and fill jobs. Western states are finding themselves with jobs, but no one to fill them.

So, why aren't large numbers of Americans moving west? Because they've been conditioned to imagine that if they can't easily find a job where they are at, their government will hand them everything for "free." They've become used to imagining that the state should take care of them instead of imagining that they are responsible for themselves.

These kinds of reports without context or any greater exploration of the situation is the sort of "journalism" that helps drive down morale for America for little real gain. Of course, for NPR the main point is to help achieve bad times, not merely report on them. NPR would rather see Americans lounge about their homes feeling desperate and turning to government for succor. NPR wants to breed dependency, not self-reliance.

And dependency is what we see in Gloria Nunez. She is filled with all sorts of excuses of why her life is so darn hard. The world is out to get her, it appears. But there are jobs a plenty out there. Only, they take some effort on the part of the seeker. The magical employment fairy is going to float down and wave her magic jobs wand neither on Gloria Nunez nor anyone like her.

Americans have many times taken their own lives in their own hands and set out to find a better life. Now days, however, the Gloria Nunez' of the world seem to imagine that everyone else should come to their aid. America must become again that land of rugged individuals leaning forward into any ill wind that blows to forge ahead and succeed.

Government isn't the solution. Someone should tell that to Gloria Nunez and NPR.

(Photo credit: NPR.org)

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Ohio Fundraising Update

(Promoted: Great summary)

In this week's post, I wanted to bring everybody up to date on the latest news on Ohio's races which, for this week, means fundraising...

OH-01: Rep. Steve Chabot who has $1,311,547. His Democratic challenger, Steve Driehaus, has a total of $631,440 in the bank. (The Point). Chabot is a fundraising machine and is one of the hardest working campaigners in the business.

OH-02: Rep. Jean Schmidt $301,462 this quarter and $858,081 for this cycle with $392,028.05 on hand. Team Schmidt has done a pretty good job of fundraising in what has been a difficult climate. Schmidt has more cash on hand and nearly outraised her opponent, Vic Wulsin, this quarter. (WMD)

OH-03: Rep. Turner has outraised Jane Mitakides this quarter ($176,250 to $156,964.11) and has more cash on hand ($596,171 to $130,566.49). (Jessica Wehrman, Dayton Daily News) Dayton's former mayor is running a fine campaign and looks to be in pretty good shape to take it to the finish line once again.

OH-04: Rep. Jim Jordan is crushing labor union candidate Mike Carroll. Jordan raised $627,924 in second quarter and has $433,838 cash on hand. Carroll has managed to scrape together $11,486 in this quarter, but only has $2,298 cash on hand. (PolitickerOH)

OH-05: Rep. Bob Latta has raised $73,675 this quarter and has $76,921 cash on hand. His opponent apparently didn't file a report. (PolitickerOH)

OH-06: Deputy Recorder Richard Stobbs (R-Dillonvale) didn't file a report, which is not a good sign seeing as Rep. Charlie Wilson raised $609,691 this quarter. The interesting thing about that is that Wilson has only $397,855 cash on hand, which means he's spending an awful lot of money on a race that shouldn't be much of a sweat. If you are looking for a dark horse bet for your campaign dollar, this just might be your race. (PolitickerOH)    UPDATE:  My source at PolitickerOH has reported an error: Charlie Wilson’s 2Q # was $129,490, not $600K.

OH-07: State Senator Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) posted strong fundraising totals for the second quarter today, outraising his Democratic opponent by more than $151,000. Since the campaign began, Sen. Austria has raised nearly $820,000, far outraising his opponent by nearly $500,000. His opponent is Sharon Neuhardt, a liberal attorney from Yellow Springs. (WMD)

OH-08: Tucked deep within House Minority Leader John Boehner’s mammoth Federal Elections Commission filing is this “receipt”: Boehner received $1.09 million this quarter, $1.15 million total from Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., part of a legal ruling against McDermott earlier this year. (Jessica Wehrman, Dayton Daily News) Boehner has spent he spent $-768,997.09 this quarter. That minus sign is not an accident or a typo...

OH-09: This one is ugly. Brad Leavitt, our guy, didn't file. Rep. Marcy Kaptur raised $77,135 last quarter and has $939,633 cash on hand. (PolitickerOH)

OH-10: Jim Trakas raised $103,033 in the second quarter but only has $87,451 cash on hand. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on cruise control having raised just $147,853 last quarter, but he has $506,235 cash on hand. If you are looking for a place to put some campaign donations to fight against Democrats who want impeachment to go forward, this is the race for you. (PolitickerOH)

OH-11: Republican candidate Thomas Pekarek didn't file a report, but Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones raised $177,816 last quarter and only has $83,848 cash on hand. This is another long-shot bet that could have significant pay-off for your campaign dollar. (PolitickerOH)

OH-12: Rep. Pat Tiberi raised $246,060 in the second quarter and has a whopping $866,855 cash on hand. His opponent, businessman David Robinson only raised $52,371 last quarter and has a paltry $19,976 cash on hand. (PolitickerOH)

OH-13: Our guy, David Potter, didn't file, but Rep. Betty Sutton raised $72,976 last quarter and only has $188,693 cash on hand. This is another one of those races where a little investment in our candidate might make a difference. (PolitickerOH)

OH-14: Rep. LaTourette is crushing his opponent, former Judge Bill O'Neill. LaTourette raised $333,813 in 2Q and has $870,849 cash on hand; whereas O'Neill put up $104,051 last quarter, but only has $46,541 cash on hand. (PolitickerOH)

OH-15: Steve Stivers outraised Mary Jo Kilroy last quarter and is getting closer to closing the gap created by Kilroy having gotten in to the race a year before Stivers. Here is an opportunity for your campaign dollars to be put to really good use in what is going to be a tough fight. The DCCC has already committed $1.2 million in ad buys for this race. UPDATE:  Source - (WMD)

OH-16: The Schuring campaign has raised over $800,000 to date and has nearly $350,000 cash on hand. (WMD) He trails John Boccieri (D-Not from OH-16) in the money race, so if you are looking for a place to donate that will have an impact, Team Schuring is the place for that.

OH-17: Duane V. Grassell, a teacher running as a Republican, did not file a report. His opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, raised $141,770 in last quarter and has $424,293 cash on hand. (PolitickerOH)

OH-18: Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio's 18th District Fred Dailey filed his 2nd quarter fundraising totals and more than doubled the amount of money his campaign had raised in any previous reporting period. Dailey's $112,000 cash on hand consists primarily of local contributors from across Eastern Ohio. (WMD) Dailey has put up the best fundraising numbers of his campaign in this quarter and is looking to build on that momentum. His opponent, the accidental congressman Zack Space, has raised a ton of money, so if you are looking for a good place to put some campaign dollars to use in a district we should not have lost, this is it.

Ohio's Future PAC: Rob Portman started up a PAC and has donated to the Ohio Republican Party, the Cuyahoga and Lucas County parties, as well as three U.S. Reps: Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati), Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) and Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). Congressional candidates Steve Stivers (R-Columbus), Fred Dailey (R-Mt. Vernon), Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) and Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) have also received donations. (PolitickerOH)

Recharge Ohio PAC: Not to be outdone, John Kasich has also formed a group to help raise funds for Ohio Republicans. Kasich's PAC is focusing in on helping maintain Republican majorities in Ohio's legislature. (Daily Briefing, Columbus Dispatch)

88 in '08: And let's not forget the Ohio Republican Part's efforts to take the presidential race to each and every county in Ohio. Please consider helping out with a contribution. Here’s what a single $88 contribution can do (based on statewide calculations): 226 Absentee Ballot Request Forms, 1760 GOTV phone calls, 31 new voters that can be identified and registered, 117 yard signs, or 880 bumper stickers. Remember: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation...

Matt Hurley is the Contributing Editor of Weapons of Mass Discussion, an Ohio-based blog, and a founding member of the State of Ohio Blogger Alliance

An Ohio Update...


In this week's post, I wanted to bring everybody up to date on the latest happenings in Ohio's races...

OH-01: Rep Steve Chabot has a full calendar of events in which he will be appearing. Chabot is fighting back against Steve Driehaus who is hiding behind his liberal friends in the DCCC and their radio ads.

OH-02: Rep. Jean Schmidt is facing a rematch with Dr. Vic Wulsin, who continues to be mired in a controversy regarding her involvement in a study of malariotherapy. Wulsin claims that she found the process to be scientifically unsound and unethical, but failed to report the Heimlich Institute to the appropriate authorities.

OH-03: Rep. Mike Turner is battling a smear perpetrated by liberal bloggers claiming that Turner voted against extending GI Bill benefits. The truth is that Turner voted to support the bill in the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008. The earlier version of the bill would have raised taxes and lacked a provision allowing the transfer of benefits to members of a vateran's immediate family.

OH-04: Rep. Jim Jordan is squaring off against a guy named Mike Carroll. This race has been pretty quiet.

OH-05: Rep. Bob Latta held his Farm Day last week.

OH-06: Some guy by the name of Richard Stobbs gets the honor of trying to knock off Democrat Charlie Wilson. He might want to start by updating his website.

OH-07: State Sen. Steve Austria is running against Sharon Neuhardt, who just might think she's actually running for a seat in Indiana.

OH-08: Republican Leader, my Congressman and a Great American -- John Boehner -- draws Nicholas Von Stein as his opponent. People will be saying "Bay-nur" for quite some time.

OH-09: The sacrificial lamb in this district goes by the name of Bradley S. Leavett. This Navy veteran squares off against Marcy Kaptur.

OH-10: Jim Trakas versus Dennis Kucinich. I'd love to tell you something about this race; but near as I can tell, there isn't anything to talk about...

OH-11: Thomas Pekarek opposes Stephanie Tubbs Jones. I wish I could tell you this one was going to be close, but it won't be...

OH-12: Rep. Pat Tiberi wrote an op-ed about the Fourth of July for the Newark Advocate.

OH-13: Dave Potter resigned his job late last month to be a full-time candidate against Betty Sutton.

OH-14: Rep. Steven LaTourette recently proposed a commuter gas relief rebate. The bill is a gimmick, but it does show that LaTourette is at least in touch with the issue.

OH-15: State Senator Steve Stivers opponent is Mary Jo Kilroy, who is in some hot water lately. The issue is the contracts for the Columbus Clippers baseball stadium and Kilroy, a county commissioner, bungled it by insisting on awarding the contract to a union-friendly company instead of the lowest bidder. The last five paragraphs of that story linked above is really worth savoring.

OH-16: Kirk Schuring's opponent, John Boccieri (D-Not in the District) pulled a gas station stunt that backfired this week.

OH-17: Duane V. Grassell vs. Tim Ryan will not be pretty.

OH-18: Fred Dailey is running against Zack Space, the Accidental Congressman. We know one thing for sure about Space, he's avoiding Obama like the plague that he will be in this district and all over southeastern Ohio.

John McCain will be back in Ohio this week participating in a townhall in Portsmouth and then the NAACP convention in Cincinnati. The best method of defeating Obama is to convince voters in southeastern Ohio (and southwestern Pennsylvannia) that the Democrat is just another politician and nothing special. On my blog, Weapons of Mass Discussion, we have catalogued over 30 of Obama's flip-flops. Throw in his various gaffes and falsehoods, and Obama can be defined as the liberal con-man that he is.

Ohio Attorney General: You may have heard about Ohio's Eliot Spitzer, Marc Dann, being sent home in disgrace. What you may not have heard is that the Ohio GOP does not have a candidate. Time is running out and at this point, the Republican candidate would have to be a superstar at fundraising in order to catch Dick Cordray, the Democratic candidate.

88 in '08: The Ohio GOP is working hard to be competitive in all 88 counties of the Great State of Ohio and they will need your help doing it. Please consider helping out with a contribution. Here’s what a single $88 contribution can do (based on statewide calculations): 226 Absentee Ballot Request Forms, 1760 GOTV phone calls, 31 new voters that can be identified and registered, 117 yard signs, or 880 bumper stickers. Remember: As Ohio goes, so goes the nation...


Matt Hurley is the Contributing Editor of Weapons of Mass Discussion, an Ohio-based blog.

The Path to 270: McCain's Michigan-Ohio Strategy

Electoral vote analysis in a time when one candidate is ahead outside the margin is massively uninstructive. It mostly consists of teaser-style pieces like, "Obama is within single digits in Alaska!" and "look at those North Dakota numbers!"

If Obama is playing in either of those two states in October, it's game over and no amount of analysis will matter. I won't be wasting my time focusing on what someone needs to do to get from 300 to 350, because all you need is 270. 

So I'm going to approach this differently. I am going to this as though the election is tied, and give you scenarios for how either candidate claws above 270 for the win based on the current configuration of state polls. Obama may look good now, but what if his support recedes to back a near-tie? Which states does John McCain pick off if that happens? What's the exact order of the target lists on both sides?

For this analysis, I'm shamelessly relying on FiveThirtyEight.com's model since I find it to be the most compelling model out there, both in taking into account non-polling inputs (important in blowout states), and weighting polls based on their recency and track record. Then I mash them up with 2004 data to show the projected swing (mostly to Obama) to get hints at the likely configuration of the 2008 map under different scenarios.

The data underlying this analysis is published here.

Based on 538's projection for each state, Obama is leading in the popular vote by 49.7% to 46.4%. This 3.3% margin amounts to a 5.8% swing to Obama off Bush's 2.5% 2004 victory. Any state with greater than a 5.8% is an Obama-outperform state. Any state under is a McCain-outperform state.

As I've said, I'm not interested in what happens if Obama wins by 3 or 4%, other than to say that in that case, It's over. Despite the hype of a split popular/electoral vote winner, probability says that it's highly unlikely unless the popular vote margin is under 1% (0.5% turned out to be the breaking point in 2000). I will explore how McCain can maneuver in a 1-2% popular vote loss scenario, however.

So I am rolling the margin back to a McCain-Obama popular vote tie, and readjusting state victory margins accordingly. I'm also taking the state needed to tip the election off the map. Interestingly enough, it's Ohio, the median state in 2004. And the electoral map looks like this:

Five places McCain should go

Cross-posted at The Electoral Map and promoted by Soren

Politico's Charlie Mahtesian and Amie Parnes wrote an article yesterday about the "Five Places Obama Should Go," and four out of the five areas they identified were places where he struggled against Clinton: Broward County, FL (Jews), Youngstown, OH (blue-collar, gun-owning Catholics), San Antonio (Latinos) and Mingo Couny, WV (“the heart of the anti-Obama belt").  The fifth suggestion -- Maricopa County, AZ -- was clearly aimed at McCain.

If four out of the five places Obama has to go are aimed at shoring up his base, it means he still has plenty of loose ends to tie up from the primary before he starts trying to win over independents and Republicans. 

With that in mind, where are the five places that McCain should go?

This is a tough one, since most of his weaknesses seem to be more personal (age, speaking skills, Bush) rather than geographic. Still, I think visiting areas where Obama is vulnerable and putting him on the defensive would be a smart move — So, how about:

  1. Ohio River Valley Tour -- From Pittsburgh to St. Louis -- When it comes to the Ohio River Valley, the bad news for the GOP is that the party's brand is in poor shape in this border region and has been resulting in substantial loses on the congressional level (think PA-04, OH-18, KY-03, IN-08 and IN-09, and the near-miss in OH-02).  The good news for the GOP is that Obama is very unpopular here and was pummeled by Hillary in the primaries.  In one trip, McCain could hit competitive areas in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Missouri, while also challenging the myth that Kentucky could become competitve and even making a symbolic swing through the Land of Lincoln.
  2. Fairfield County, Conn. -- A campaign stop with New York-area Jews and Joe Lieberman would inevitably shine a light on Obama's comments about Iran and would fan media speculation that the state could become competitive.  And Henry Kissinger lives in Kent, an hour up the beautiful Housatonic Valley from Fairfield County -- perhaps he could lend an opinion on Obama's foreign policy?
  3. Northern Suburbs of Milwaukee, Wis. -- The suburbs will be key nationwide and Wisconsin is a vital target state for the GOP. The north and west 'burbs of Milwaukee also “remain overwhelmingly Republican,” notes Democratic pollster Paul Maslin. But “If Obama can crack them to any degree he probably wins the state by several points.” Besides shoring up support with voters, a McCain appearance in the “Beer Capital of the World” would also remind the media that he’s the beer track candidate and Obama is the wine track one. It would also be smart to campaign with fellow Teddy Roosevelt Republican Tommy Thompson.
  4. Grand Rapids — Michigan might be Obama’s most blue vulnerable state and Gerald Ford’s hometown is at the ideological intersection of what Patrick Ruffini once called "the real dividing lines of" the GOP primary -- wealthy suburbanites, religious conservatives and Ford-like mainline moderates. A smart sidekick would be Mitt Romney, who beat McCain in Grand Rapids by a 38-31% margin.
  5. Iowa, Early and Often — Iowa might be McCain’s most vulnerable state; he clearly has never built much of an operation here. He needs to visit Iowa… repeatedly.



Let's defeat Dennis Kucinich with $1 for every article of impeachment


Last week, Congressman Dennis Kucinich demonstrated again why Congress is so unpopular.  While US residents are worried about gas prices, a slowing economy, and higher food prices, Kucinich spent 4 ½ hours on the floor of Congress introducing impeachment articles against a President who will be out of office in 6 months.

He introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President.  So I’m giving $35 dollars to his Republican opponent, Jim Trakas.  I hope that many will join me.  The NRCC isn't going to help any candidate this fall, so it's our responsibility to make up the difference.

Trakas seized on the opportunity to point out why Kucinich needs to go.

Just shows that political games and not real policy discussion is the agenda of Cleveland's congressman. While we suffer from skyrocketing food and fuel prices, due in large part to bad policies from Washington and higher than tolerable unemployment, Congressman Kucinich pursues a bizarre political agenda with no change of passage and that in no way solves our very real problems.

Voters in Cleveland, Ohio are tired of Kucinich as well.  In March, he received only 50.27% of the vote in his own Democrat Primary.  Other polling I’ve seen has Kucinich disapproval close to 50%. This is our chance. 

Take this editorial from the liberal Cleveland Plain Dealer.

This page's regard for Bush's presidency drops almost weekly. The administration has bungled issues at home and abroad. It has made a mess of the federal budget and squandered America's moral capital. It has bent the Constitution in the name of national security and presided over a rising tide of economic woe.

We didn't need five hours of Kucinich to know that. At this point, no one does.

But here's the good news: Bush, Cheney and Co. will be out of office seven months, one week and one day from now. If a stampede of members suddenly signed on to Kucinich's effort - he currently has one co-sponsor - they'd be lucky to finish the job any sooner.

Meanwhile, Cleveland and the 10th Congressional District have all kinds of problems that won't go away on Jan. 20, 2009. Their congressman should take note.

Or how about this one:  Dennis Kucinich's resolution to impeach Bush draws ridicule, one supporter.

I know Republicans are skeptical of any electoral victories, especially after a few terrible special election defeats.  However, 2008 could prove to be bad for incumbents in general- and Dennis Kucinich may be one of those incumbents most vulnerable.  While he tries to remain a national figure, his local base is eroding.  It almost cost him his seat in the Primary.  With some help, Jim Trakas could deprive him of it in November.

OH-18: Dailey up double digits

The Madison Project reports that Columbus's ABC 6 (WSYX) is reporting a poll they commissioned that Fred Dailey is up by double digits over incumbent class-of-2006 Democrat Zack Space. (I can't find the poll on the site, but Dailey's site has the screen shots)

According to the poll, Dailey is at 46%, while Space is at 32%.

That would put one district not just in play but seemingly in the GOP column. In any case, help Dailey out.

The Big Ten Strategy

Promoted. Post your general election strategery in the comments. -Patrick

Now that the general election matchup has been set, it is worth taking a look at what the candidates can do to win the election.  In the case of Obama, his best strategy would be to try and flip a few Mountain West states like Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico.  But of course, I'm not writing this to help Obama!  When I was looking for a strategy for McCain to win this fall, the best opportunites for pickups for him were in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  Other surrounding states like Ohio, Iowa, and Missouri were closely held by Bush in 2004.  These states of the industrial Midwest were all within 5 or 6 points last election and constitute a heavy portion of the swing electoral votes.  All of these states, with the exception of Missouri, have large state universities that are part of the Big Ten athletic conference.  Therefore, I have titled the strategy, "The Big Ten Strategy".

Expanding On Matt Hurley's Point A Bit

The point of this post is to expand on, rather than supplant, Matt Hurley's post below on Ohio, because I think Matt really hits the nail on the head with regard to the problems Obama's candidacy is likely to encounter, and why his problems with white working class voters are likely to be a real problem come November. I just think the post doesn't show the full depth of Obama's problems.

This map expands upon Matt Hurley's map.  The reddest counties are the counties that were won by Bush twice, by Mike Dewine in his losing 2006 Senate race, and by Ken Blackwell in his losing Governor's race.  The bluest counties are the counties that voted Democratic in all four elections.  The pure purple counties are the true swing counties, the counties that if the Republicans win, they most likely win the election, but if the Democrats win, they most likely win the election.


As you can see, as Matt pointed out, as you move West, the map gets redder.  The key counties for Republicans are the counties in the east-central part of the state.  If the Republican wins there, he wins the state.  If he loses, he loses the state.  And if he starts to lose the west-central counties, he loses the state, big time.


Now, let's see how Obama did in his matchup with Hillary.  In this map I have adjusted for the statewide results, such that the purple counties are those where Hillary won with 50-60% of the vote.  The dark red counties mean that Hillary won with 65%+ of the vote; the dark blue mean he won with 55%+ of the vote.


As you can see, he had deep strength in the counties that Democrats only lose in a blowout, like Cuyahoga (Cleveland), Montgomery (Dayton) and Franklin (Columbus).  He also held his own -- though he still lost in absolute terms -- in the reddest counties, and overperformed in Hamilton county, where Democrats also typically perform poorly. 

But in the purple counties, he got blown out.  To look at this another way, look at this map.  It shows the "basic" red-blue map in it, with counties where he carried 40% of the vote or less marked with crosshatches. 



So what does this mean?  Well, first off it means that, within the Democratic party, Obama starts out the weakest in the counties that a Democrat needs to worry about the most in order to win.  More worrisome for the Obama campaign is that, if he is not popular with Democratic partisans in those counties, how would he fare with independents or weak Republicans?

Similar problems manifest in Pennsylvania and Virginia -- the counties that Democrats win when they typically win, Obama performs well.  But the counties that Democrats lose when they lose narrowly, Obama performs abysmally in.

Now you may argue that his strength in the Northwest could mean that a Democrat can afford to underperform in the counties in the Southeast.  Unfortunately for that argument, the counties in the West are heavily, heavily Republican.  He could double Democratic turnout, and it wouldn't make a deny in Bush's 2004 percentages.

So we're left with what he will probably try to do:  Jack up his numbers among African Americans, college students, and wealthy suburbanites.  In short, he is going to try to build the McGovern coalition, but on steroids.  Indeed I think this is exactly why Democrats like Pelosi are fighting so hard for him:  If he can win, then they can ditch those blue dog Democrats who stand in the way of true progressive reform.  Of course, the problem is that every Democrat since McGovern save Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter has tried to win with some version of that formula, and hasn't performed particularly well.  And the other problem is that maps and political alignments tend not to change quickly; rather, realignments occur gradually over time.  But that is a story for another post.

Cross-posted at Race42008.com

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