Senate Race Update: Ohio & Michigan

Senate Race Update: Ohio & Michigan

Democratic incumbents appear to maintain their edge

There are no less than four new polls in the Ohio U.S. Senate race between Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and challenger State Treasurer Joel Mandel (R).  Mandel is the youthful Iraq veteran who’s been making a charge at one-term incumbent Brown.

All four polls are strikingly similar, which gives them added weight.  They are probably a good assessment of where the race stands:

PPP: Brown 48, Mandel 40

Gravis Marketing: Brown 48, Mandel 42

NBC/WSJ: Brown 49, Mandel 42

Rasmussen: Brown 49, Mandel 41

The good news for Mandel is that Brown is held under 50 percent in each of the polls, indicating that he has not yet solidified his support as an incumbent.  But each of the polls shows that Mandel has quite a hill to climb.

A sure sign, however, that not everyone considers Mandel to be out of contention is the decision of Crossroads GPS, a very-well-funded “super PAC” connected to GOP strategist Karl Rove, to place more ads in Ohio as part of a new $2.3-million push on behalf of Republican Senate candidates.  The ads connect Brown with President Obama and seek to bring some potential ticket-splitters over to Mandel.  The presidential race in Ohio has been running much closer than the Senate contest.

 

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In another key midwestern state, maybe the race is tightening … but maybe it isn’t.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) has always been considered the frontrunner against Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), but she has never opened up a commanding lead, despite some serious stumbles by Hoekstra.

A new EPIC/MRA poll, however, showed Stabenow close to taking that elusive command.  She was ahead by 49-38, the biggest lead a poll had given her since mid-summer.

But right after came a quite different poll from Baydoun/Foster, which showed Stabenow ahead by only 47-42.  That would make for a somewhat different race.

Of course, due to the vagaries of polling, margins of error and the means used to estimate turnout, it is completely possible that both polls are close to being accurate, and that is a good lesson in the caveat emptor nature of polls.

Stabenow appears to be somewhere in the upper 40s, but the polls aren’t giving us a clear picture of where Hoekstra stands.  His polling does not appear strong enough to rank the state as a “toss-up,” however.

The Washington Post has new rankings out that put both Ohio and Michigan in the “lean Democratic” category.