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Is Kentucky the Next Ohio?

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The state of Ohio has been an elusive target for Democrats during the last two presidential elections. The Democratic Party is optimistic about its chances there in 2008, and the 2006 elections points to clear dissatisfaction among the Buckeye State's electorate with the Republican Party. In last November's election:

* Democrats won back the Governor's mansion (in the midst of a GOP scandal)
* Democrats picked up one U.S. Senate seat
* Democrats picked up one U.S. House seat
* Democrats picked up one State Senate seat
* Democrats picked up six State House seats

Like Ohio, Democrats also experienced a mild renaissance in 2006 in the neighboring state of Kentucky:

* Democrats picked up 1 U.S. House seat
* Democrats picked up 4 State House seats
* Democrats picked up 2 State Senate seats

Next week, Kentuckians will go to the ballot to elect their next governor, and Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher is down by nearly 25 points in the latest polling to Democrat Steve Beshear (SurveyUSA, October 27-29).

Equally alarming to Republicans is that the job approval ratings of both GOP Senators, Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, are below 50 percent. McConnell is on the ballot in 2008 and was not originally thought to be vulnerable to an upset, given his powerful position in the Senate, but the Senator currently has a 49 percent job approval rating (SurveyUSA, October 2007). Bunning won his Senate races in 1998 and 2004 by a combined 2 points, and only has a 46 percent approval rating.

Bill Clinton won both Ohio and Kentucky in 1992 and 1996—the former by a combined 8 points and the latter by a combined 4 points. In matchup polls in Ohio, Hillary Clinton currently leads Rudy Giuliani (2 points), Fred Thompson (6 points), Mitt Romney (9 points), and Mike Huckabee (16 points), and is tied with John McCain (SurveyUSA, October 2007).

In Kentucky, Hillary Clinton is leading Giuliani (2 points), Romney (9 points), and Huckabee (10 points), but trails McCain (4 points) and Thompson (2 points) (SurveyUSA, October 2007).

Everything being equal, Republicans still hold an advantage in both of these states, but if Ohio leans Democratic in 2008 as it did in 2006, do not be surprised if Kentucky does the same.

Previous post: The Huckabee Surge Is Real
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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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