Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ohio Change

Ohio's 1st Congressional District offers one indication of how the Obama brand has flipped over the past year. In 2008, Democrat Steve Driehaus unseated incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Chabot.

A new FDL/SurveyUSA poll (full details here)shows Chabot leading Driehaus 56-39 in a 2010 rematch.

Obama's approval numbers are down in the district.

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President?

Approve 42%
Disapprove 55%
Not Sure 3%

The independent numbers are pretty bad: only 28% of independents approve of the job the president is doint.

Driehaus voted in favor of the House's version of health-care reform. This reform is of decidedly mixed popularity in his district:

Would you prefer Representative Steve Driehaus to vote for the version of the health care law that includes the requirement to carry private health insurance? To vote for a version of health care reform that does NOT include this requirement? Or, to vote against any health care bill?

For bill with requirement: 28%
For bill without requirement: 28%
Against Any bill: 40%
Not Sure: 5%

So 40% want him to vote against any bill. That gives him a ceiling of 60% for support for any bill (and that's assuming some bill could be concocted that would satisfy all interested parties). The problem for Driehaus: the Senate health-care bill does carry such a mandate for individuals to have health-insurance. That option only carries 28% support. If Driehaus does vote in favor of the Senate bill as is or without the change in mandates, his support could be further eroded.

Perhaps Driehaus's best chance at reelection would be to differentiate himself from other Democrats on Capitol Hill and act as an independent voice. Health-care could be one opportunity for Driehaus to show his independence. From the looks of President Obama's approval rating in the district, it looks unlikely that he'll be able to save Driehaus; it will be up to Driehaus to save himself.

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