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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Ohio -- 02

OH 02: Schmidt (R) +7

Ohio Republican Jean Schmidt never has an easy race, but she looks in better shape this year than in her previous two bids for her suburban Cincinnati district. A Research 2000 poll, conducted for DailyKos, surveyed 400 likely voters between 9/30 and 10/1 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Schmidt and 2006 Democratic nominee Vic Wulsin were tested among a sample of 43% Republicans, 31% Democrats and 26% independents and others.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Schmidt.....46 / 6 / 77 / 44 / 50 / 42
Wulsin......39 / 82 / 5 / 42 / 37 / 41

McCain......52 / 11 / 83 / 51 / 55 / 49
Obama.......41 / 85 / 7 / 43 / 40 / 42

Schmidt's strength among Republicans may mean those in her district are at peace with her after a rocky few first terms. If they are, Schmidt should consolidate her grip on the seat and fall off Democratic target lists. But the presidential numbers should give Ohio Obama fans hope; McCain's 11-point margin is significantly off President Bush's 28-point margin in 2004.

Schmidt Poll Shows Her Up

Embattled Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt could be in better shape this year than she has been in previous contests as she seeks a second full term representing southern Ohio, a new poll shows. In the last three years, Schmidt has narrowly won three separate elections to serve a term and a half in Congress, where she's been a reliable conservative and a lightening rod for controversy.

The new poll, conducted for Schmidt's campaign by The Tarrance Group, was conducted 3/11-12 among 400 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 5%. Schmidt and Democrat Victoria Wulsin, a physician who ran in 2006, were tested.

General Election Matchup
Schmidt 51
Wulsin 33

If Schmidt's lead holds, it would be her widest margin of victory to date. She won an August 2005 special election over Democrat Paul Hackett by just four points -- a race seen as an early harbinger of Democrats' successes in 2006 -- and won renomination by five points the following year, though with less than 50% of the vote. Schmidt beat Wulsin by a single point despite outspending the Democrat two-to-one.

The culturally conservative district, which runs from the eastern Cincinnati suburbs through parts of seven counties along Ohio's southern border, should not yield such close contests. President Bush won the district by nearly thirty points in two successive elections, and the previous incumbent, former U.S. Trade Representative and Office of Management and Budget head Rob Portman, never had a difficult re-election race.

But Schmidt seems to attract controversy: On the House floor, she implied Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Marine, was a coward, a line that Wulsin used in a campaign advertisement. Later, questions about the number of marathons Schmidt claimed to have run emerged as well.

Schmidt and Wulsin, who each faced two other candidates in their respective primaries, won their March 4 contests with 57% each.

Rematch In OH-2

Faced with a competitive primary for the second year in a row, Rep. Jean Schmidt came out victorious again. After being held to just 48% in the 2006 primary, Schmidt defeated State Rep. Tom Brinkman 57%-40% for the GOP nomination in Ohio's 2nd District.

Though Schmidt improved her winning percentage from 2006, it was another sub-par primary performance for an incumbent. She now must confront a familiar face in the general election. Victoria Wulsin, a physician, defeated attorney Steve Black 58%-30% in the spirited Democratic primary. Wulsin and Schmidt previously met in the 2006 general election, when Schmidt won by only 2,500 votes.

The 2nd District runs along the southern edge of the state, hugging the Kentucky border, and includes the eastern edge of Cincinnati, as well as suburban and rural counties to the east. President Bush won 64% here in 2004, but Schmidt has been unable to match that kind of popularity in the voting booth.

Wulsin heads to the general election race with $170,000 on hand, about $70,000 more than Schmidt. Both candidates spent big in the primary, and will need to raise much more money to compete similarly in the general.

--Kyle Trygstad