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Brown holds decisive lead in NE Ohio

Published: Mon, September 24, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.


The Columbus Dispatch

Despite an onslaught of more than $18 million in outside money to knock him from the U.S. Senate, Democrat Sherrod Brown holds a 7-point lead over GOP state Treasurer Josh Mandel in a new Ohio Newspaper Organization Poll.

Brown leads Mandel 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters statewide.

In Northeast Ohio, where they both are from and a traditionally strong Democratic area, Brown has a commanding 20-percentage-point lead over Mandel: 58 percent to 38 percent.

The Ohio Newspaper Organization consists of the state’s eight largest newspapers, including The Vindicator. In addition to Brown’s lead in Northeast Ohio, he also has a 14-point advantage with women.

“Sherrod Brown is a really smart guy,” said Mary Mynatt, 61, a retired state employee from Grove City. “I think he does a good job in Congress.

“I just have to contrast him with his opponent, who seems to be politically motivated. [Mandel’s] ads just drive me crazy. [Mandel is] kind of full of himself. He’s wet behind the ears; he kind of reminds me of a little squawky bird.”

But Melissa Love of Cortland, a self-described conservative who works as a customer-service representative, finds Brown to be “too liberal for me. Mandel is a serviceman; he served our country, he has conservative views he believes in. I don’t have as strong views about [Mandel] because I don’t know much about him. I don’t like Sherrod Brown because of his voting record.”

The huge influx of “dark money” — so dubbed because most of the donors are secret — from outside groups is helping to muddy the possible outcome.

“The Brown-Mandel race may turn out to be one of the harder races to handicap this fall,” said Eric Rademacher, co-director of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, which conducted the poll.

“The saturation of Ohio with presidential campaign ads has made it very difficult for the U.S. Senate candidates to get their messages to voters, and voter patience with campaign ads is dwindling. Name recognition, incumbency, and funding from outside groups against both candidates may factor in to how the race unfolds in the last month and-a-half of the campaign.”

Independent voters favor Brown by a narrow margin in the most recent poll, but this group has the potential to shift back and forth between candidates right up to election day.

Although Gov. John Kasich does not face re-election for another two years, Ohio voters are revising early opinions of the Republican who last year supported the unpopular Senate Bill 5, which would have reduced public-employee collective- bargaining rights.

He now wins approval from 52 percent of Ohioans for his job performance, while 41 percent disapprove.

In Northeast Ohio, 48 percent of those polled approve of the governor’s job performance compared with 44 percent who disapprove.

“At first I thought he was a rebel without a cause. He was a real storm trooper when he got in there,” said telemarketer Linda Rae Brown, 65, of Cleveland.

“Now I like the guy. At first I thought he was a bit of a bully, but now I like him. He’s getting things done.”

Marlin Griffin, 40, a Democrat from Gallipolis who works at AEP’s Gavin Power Plant, is no fan of Kasich.

“All Republican governors try to, first thing off the bat, bully folks, and I don’t think that’s how politics should be done,” Griffin said. “You should work across the aisle. I’m not saying your values should change, but you should have the decency to work across the aisle with folks.”

But he said the governor has toned down since last year and helped the state avoid debt.

“I don’t know how long that’s going to last,” Griffin said. “We’ll see after this election if he’s going to try to go after unions or teachers or someone else.”

Another who has changed his position is Robert G. Merkle, 82, of Springfield, a retired physicist and aerospace engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

“I didn’t vote for him but I’ve been surprised because I thought they would hack away at the benefits for the poor and disabled because that’s usually what happens,” Merkle said.

“Instead, he cut the state aid to the cities and the schools. If he wants to shrink government, that’s a good thing because all these matching funds local governments tend to regard as free money. And they use it for bigger and larger programs. Kasich is one who says we should shrink government.”

But the governor’s push to keep roughly half-a-billion dollars in the state’s rainy-day fund instead of using it to restore state budget cuts to schools and other local governments is less popular.

Fifty-four percent want the money used to patch the budget reductions, with 39 percent content to let the money stay in the state fund.

“He cut a lot of programs to get there [balancing the state budget] and now people are suffering – what is he going to with that 500 million? Is he going to put it out there to help people?” Griffin wondered.

The also poll asked voters about state Issue 2 — which would revamp the way Ohio’s congressional and legislative districts are drawn — and Kasich’s proposal to increase fees on oil and gas drilling and use the revenue to reduce Ohioans’ state income taxes.

However, too few people knew about either proposal to provide meaningful results: 54 percent said they had heard “nothing at all” about the Kasich proposal, while 35 percent said the same about Issue 2, whose ballot language was significantly changed this month.

Contributor: David Skolnick of The Vindicator


1chuck_carney(499 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Remeber Wisconsin and the Ed Schultz
look of disbelief.

Josh Mandel was on Fox TV this morning and stated he was in Youngstown recently and members of the Ytown Chamber of Commerce are sick and tired of politicians taking credit for the state's turnaround.

Yet that's all Sherrod does. But he promised to repeal NAFTA, and hasn't done a thing.

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2redeye1(5678 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I can only hope that free spending Brown is defeated in November. I'm tire of paying for everything for everyone else. I want to keep some of my money to spend on myself once in awhile

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3DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Things in the senate are too volatile to trade an experienced servant like Sherrod Brown for an inexperienced candidate like Mandel.

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4JulietZavon(18 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Mandel and Brown—lots of opinions, but no one mentions gerrymandering! This election we can eliminate gerrymandering. Gerrymandering lets politicos rig elections by drawing the congressional districts to give themselves safe seats. We have a chance to change that this year by voting YES on Issue 2. When politicians gerrymander the districts, they split communities apart to water down their vote. The politicians care more about winning than they do about fair elections or the communities they are supposed to serve. I’m voting Yes on Issue 2 because I’m tired of their games.

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5LtMacGowan(714 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I had already decided to vote for Brown again when I learned that he s in an 8 way tie for "Most Liberal Senator". That only makes me want to vote for him more and makes me even more proud of him. Especially his vote which was the 60th and the 1 to cause cloture and pass the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in the Senate.

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6ndawket(10 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I want elected officials who are accountable to Ohioans. Gerrymandering and big money rig our elections. Let’s not squander this opportunity for voters to change the system and make elections fair again. A YES on Issue 2 is the right direction.

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7DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

So Issue 2 backers are paying for spammers to blanket the boards.

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