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Will Obama drag down Sen. Brown?

Published: Sun, October 9, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Democrats keep insisting that there are 13 months to the 2012 presidential election, which is a lifetime in politics. But unless the economy starts humming and the national jobless rate drops below 8 percent, Democratic President Barack Obama’s bid for a second four-year term will be anything but assured.

And that raises a question: At what point do Democrats running for the U.S. House and Senate decide that the president is a liability?

The question is especially important for Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who will seek a second six-year term in 2012.

While the latest statewide Quinnipiac University poll shows Brown with a 13 percent lead over his likely Republican challenger, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel — 49-36 percent — the margin is by no means comfortable. First, Mandel has been treasurer for only 10 months, having won last year’s general election in his first run statewide. Second, the president’s approval rating in Ohio is dropping like a stone — just as it is nationally.

In the Quinnipiac poll of 1,301 registered voters in Ohio, 44 percent say they’d vote for Obama, while 42 prefer Republican Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts. The poll has a margin of error is 2.7 percentage points.

The president doesn’t do much better when pitted against Texas Gov. Rick Perry — 44 percent to 41 percent.

But it’s the approval-disapproval rating that should trouble Democratic officeholders like Brown. According to the poll, Ohio voters disapprove 53-42 percent of the job Obama is doing, matching his lowest overall approval. On whether he deserves to be re-elected, 51 percent say “no”, compared with 43 percent who believe he does.

There’s no doubt that the poll reflects the national anxiety about the economy and the fact that Ohio’s unemployment rate remains high, but Democrats can’t ignore the fact that Ohio will be a battleground state next year.

“President Barack Obama’s standing among all Ohio voters is back to its lowest ever,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “They gave him a 53-42 percent disapproval rating on his job performance, and say by 51-43 percent he does not deserve another term in the Oval Office. But when he is matched against Perry and Romney, those races are statistical ties.”

The gender gap in the poll is revealing: Men back Romney over Obama 47-41 percent, while women back the president 46-38 percent over Romney. In an Obama-Perry race, 45 percent of men said they were for the Republican governor from Texas, while 41 percent chose the Democratic incumbent; women, on the other hand, went for the president 46-37 percent over Perry.

Declaration of independents

But it is with the key voting group, independents, that Obama appears to be in trouble; he splits these voters 39-39 percent with Romney, and barely wins the group over Perry, 38-35 percent.

When Obama ran for president in 2008, he forged a coalition of Democrats, independents, young voters and first-time black voters to defeat the Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain. It now appears that the coalition is dissolving, which is bad news for the Democrats.

The perception among voters across the political spectrum is that Obama is in over his head and does not have the political strength to push through his job-creation initiatives in Congress. Democrats control the Senate, but the GOP has the majority in the House.

Top Republicans have made it clear that their only goal is to prevent the president from winning a second term.

Thus, Ohio’s Democratic senator, Brown, must calculate whether to tie his political future to an unpopular head of next year’s Democratic ticket.

Last November’s general election in Ohio in which Republicans won every statewide office and took control of the General Assembly can only be seen as a repudiation of the Democratic brand of politics as created by Obama. Dissatisfaction with what is going on in the White House and Congress prompted many Democrats to stay home. Whether they will be inspired to return to the polls next year is anybody’s guess.

Sen. Brown can take solace from the fact that Ohio voters do approve the job he is doing, by a vote of 52-31 percent, according to the Quinnipiac poll. That is why he can’t be seen as being joined at the political hip with Obama.

Republicans in Ohio will make the president the issue in next year’s election. Brown can only hope that there is a major turnaround in the economy — or else he will have to publicly separate himself from the resident of the White House.


1chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

President O'bama arrogantly proclaimed he was forming his team of rivals when he was elected in 2008. Little did he realize members of his own Democrat party who sneak away from his big tent, such as Claire Mccaskell and Sherrod Brown

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2republicanRick(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Sherrod Brown has been ranked as the most liberal Senator in Congress.
He has brought absolutely no money or jobs to the Valley.
We deserve much, much better.

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3author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Don't worry, Mahoning County will vote by the truckloads for Obama and Brown - it's just the other 87 counties that might not.

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4AtownAugie(867 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

So, Mr de Souza, the apologies for Mr Brown losing his coveted senate seat begins I see. Brown will need to "publicly separate" himself from Mr Obama? Brown first will need to undergo a much more personal separation: he will need a "lipbuttomy" -- the surgical separation of human lips fused to a human butt. Mr Brown would be the second to undergo this pioneering procedure; the first was performed by an emergency surgical team at The Ohio State University Medical School when Mr Betras was in Columbus a few weeks ago to see the president. The need for it can be heard when Brown is on Mr Romigh's early-morning radio show: Brown's mumbling has become more pronounced during his last few interviews. (Perhaps the Vindy editorial board will start a fund to help Brown during his coming unemployment. After all, since his wife was forced to resign from The Plain Dealer due to unethical behavior related to her husband's campaign, Brown could use the extra income. Unless of course the man to whom he presently is fused arranges a bailout.)

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5choicelady(15 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Both Obama and Brown have Ohio best interests. The GOP favors only the rich, hates public employees who are the backbone of the Y'town middle class, and funnels voting through gerrymandering, and you, the voice of the most embattled city outside of Braddock, want a REPUBLICAN to represent you? From health care to jobs to foreign policy and homeland security, you are in the care of people who honestly are concerned about you, want to restore manufacturing, and return prosperity to Main Street. Wow - you do fool easy.

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6Photoman(1222 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

Forget about Brown. Obama and the czars are dragging down the nation. Where are the American Patriots? Does there remain anyone who puts our nation before self?

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7Photoman(1222 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

I meant to imply, in the above comment, "Among our leaders in Washington." Those in the military certainly put our nation first.

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