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Morning Jay: OFA, Dems' Cincinnati Blues, The One That Got Away, and More!

6:30 AM, Oct 14, 2010 • By JAY COST
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The NRCC is beginning the process it has been waiting for all cycle: Moving money out of ad reservations in races where it believes it already has a significant lead so it can pour that money into more competitive contests.

Following news that the DCCC has canceled its ad reservations on behalf of Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) in OH 1, the NRCC has also taken its money out of that district, according to committee sources. It has also cut its ads in the last week of the campaign in TX 17, where businessman Bill Flores appears to have a solid lead on Rep. Chet Edwards (D).

Ohio’s First Congressional District is dominated by Cincinnati and Hamilton County, which has been a Republican bastion basically since the Civil War -- the peerless Michael Barone has called it "a German, pro-Union, and Republican island in a sea of southern Democratic sentiment."  But in the last two presidential cycles, as Ohio has become the focal point of the national presidential campaign, Hamilton has turned into a swing county.  It gave Bush 53 percent of the vote in 2004, then it gave Barack Obama 53 percent.  One reason for the swing is the African American vote, which compromises about 27 percent of the district and was a major factor helping Driehaus defeat Republican Steve Chabot in 2008.

The fact that this race is off the table, as far as both parties are concerned, is a sign that the swing voters in the district have swung back to the GOP.  It’s also an indication that the African American vote is not going to be what it was in 2008.  OH-1 is one of the few districts in the North where that will make a difference – but it is something to watch for in the South, as I mentioned yesterday

3. The One That Got Away?  I don’t know why Oregon never materialized as a possible Senate pickup for the GOP:

Democratic incumbent Ron Wyden continues to earn over 50% support against his Republican challenger Jim Huffman in Oregon’s U.S. Senate race.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Wyden picking up 52% of the vote, while Huffman, a law school professor, gets 36% support.  Four percent (4%) favor another candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided. …

Last month, Wyden led Huffman 53% to 35%. Wyden, who is seeking a third six-year term, has consistently held the lead over Huffman in surveys since late May, with support ranging from 47% to 56%.  In that same period, Huffman’s support has run from 35% to 38%.

These numbers for Wyden are not great.  And Oregon is much more inclined to vote Republican than California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington – all of which have received attention from the GOP.  This seems like an opportunity missed.

4. House Polls.  This week, the Hill and Democratic pollster Mark Penn surveyed another round of seats (* marks open seats; ^ marks GOP-held):

The only real bit of good news for the Democrats here is in IL-10, where Dan Seals is making his third bid for this metro Chicago district.  He lost twice to Mark Kirk, who is now running for the Senate.  Even this 49-37 number is a little weak, however, considering the Democratic tilt of the district and the fact that Seals has been running for the seat for six years.  Still, the Democrats will probably win this one – but Republicans can console themselves with the fact that Republican Charles Dijou is holding his own in heavily Democratic Hawaii-01, which he won earlier in the year in a special election because the Democratic vote was split.

Generally speaking, these numbers are awful for Democrats.  On average, the Democrat is underperforming Obama’s 2008 haul by 12 points.  With three weeks to go, that is not a good place to be.  What is so interesting about this cycle is that these numbers are typically awful.  Anybody who has been following the steam of House polls – both independent and partisan – has fully come to expect numbers like this for House Democrats. At this point, I tend to be more surprised to see a poll where the Democratic incumbent is polling above 50 percent.

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