Poll Shows Betty Sutton Competitive with Jim Renacci
I got a couple of emails from Congresswoman Betty Sutton's campaign showing poll figures that appeared to be good news for Sutton. She's running against teabagger congressman Jim Renacci in the new 16th district — where they were both placed by the GOP mapmakers who obviously hoped Renacci would evict the very progressive Sutton from Congress.
They showed her leading Renacci 42-40, with an unusually high number of respondents —12% — picking the Libertarian candidate. Third-party candidates usually poll much higher than the actual vote they get. It may sound good to a voter to tell a pollster "a pox on both their houses." But when they get to the voting booth, they tend to return home to whichever major party they came from. One might think the Libertarian supporters will fall over to the Republican side, but this poll shows they come equally from both sides. Whatever.
This poll was an internal poll commissioned by Sutton's campaign. And political observers will tell you not to take this type of polling too seriously, saying it's designed to bolster the impression that the candidate is winning. But Steve Singiser of at DailyKos just put up a post explaining how these polls can tell you certain things about the state of a race. He points out that while they are indeed public opinion propaganda for campaigns, when one side's releasing them and the other isn't, the side that is probably is doing better. Renacci is not releasing anything, just grumbling about Sutton's polls.
And in one paragraph, Singiser specifically addresses this race, saying,
For example, in 2012, if I were the GOP, I'd be a touch nervous about freshman Rep. Jim Renacci in Ohio. When the GOP gerrymandered Ohio so artfully in 2011, they threw Renacci in with fellow incumbent Betty Sutton (a Democrat) in a GOP-leaning district. Since then, Sutton or supportive groups have released three polls, the latter two of which staked Sutton to small leads. Meanwhile, the GOP has offered not a single counterpunch. Again, barring some kind of absurdly clever political jiujitsu, the only rational explanation for the silence on their end is because their numbers mirror those of Sutton's advocates, or they are worse than those of Sutton's advocates.
Although her own polls don't show her running away with the race by any means, these results should be encouraging and motivating for her supporters. They indicate that she has a real shot here, one that can be converted to reality by a ton of hard work in the next three months. For you people in the 11th and 9th districts in northeast Ohio, which are not competitive at all — Democrats Marcia Fudge and Marcy Kaptur, respectively, will be the runaway winners — this is the perfect race to get involved in. It's in your backyard, and you can make a difference here.