Battle ’10 predicts that Ted Strickland will lose to John Kasich by a margin of between 2 and 5 percentage points. Anything less and the election is likely to go to recount.
For all our mockery of Strickland thus far, there’s little doubt that the man has run a skillful, if largely dirty, underhanded, and negative campaign. However, certain factors — for instance, the pettiness of his subordinates and their inability to tell which targets are a distraction — have conspired against Strickland’s re-election. Strickland had potential as a genuine blue dog candidate, but instead has sold himself as the candidate of economically nationalist know-nothingism. Ohio’s voters are not going to gamble on this sort of thin gruel.
Kasich’s record indicates economic know-how, as well as a proven capacity for negotiation, something which he has shown more of throughout this campaign than Strickland, who has sold himself simultaneously (and with equal stridency in both cases) as the poor kid getting beat up and the schoolyard bully swinging fists at the snot-nosed little rich kids. The numbers can’t be bullied. All but one poll show Kasich up by at least a point, and unless they are all hallucinating, he will win.
Lee Fisher will lose, Rob Portman will win. The end.
OH-1: Steve Chabot will pick up this seat in a landslide against Steve Driehaus.
OH-6: Bill Johnson will capture this seat by a small margin, beating Charlie Wilson thanks to his come-from-behind “Generic Republican” strategy.
OH-9: Marcy Kaptur will defeat Rich Iott narrowly, the latter having been sunk by his Nazi reenactor past. This district is extremely blue, so I don’t see Iott pulling an upset except in the case of a superwave, but I could be wrong. This prediction is largely based on the idea that the Nazi reenactor story gained traction, but if it didn’t and Iott was judged more on local issues, he has a chance to pull it out.
OH-10: Kucinich. I hate to say it, but barring a miracle, Kucinich hangs on by a point or two at bare minimum.
OH-13: Betty Sutton wins this District thanks to the multiple sexual harassment attacks dug up against Tom Ganley and his own diminished funding. There’s a chance that Ganley pulls the district out due to obsessively microtargeted turnout, but this would require a campaign GOTV operation so flawless that I have trouble seeing it happening. Geraghty disagrees and thinks Ganley will win, and some polls do suggest that, but I really don’t see this race going Republican unless the wave compensates for Ganley’s weaknesses by a lot.
OH-15: Steve Stivers will defeat Mary Jo Kilroy, who will go on to become a popular commentator on MSNBC complaining about how socialism has never been tried.
OH-16: Jim Renacci will defeat John Boccieri by a margin of roughly 3 points, giving Obama one less name to sanctimoniously drop on the Daily Show (assuming he ever goes back).
OH-18: Here I differ again from Geraghty, who argues that Zack Space will pick up his district for a third time running. However, in this more or less conservative-leaning district (which even Rothenberg cites as Leaning GOP), I have difficulty seeing Space pulling it out, especially in an election where Cap and Trade is one of the foremost issues in Ohioans’ minds.