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Republicans Are Always Underpolled In Ohio- Which Is Why Renacci May Win

September 8, 2018

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/ AP Photo

By Bruce Stanford (@_hollister_99)

To get right to the point- the Republicans are consistently under-polled in Ohio. It’s happened on nearly every single statewide race since 2010.

There is a historical trend we have noticed among Republican candidates who run in Ohio- nearly every single one has gained an average of 13.4% from early summer polling to election day. Here’s a look:

Ohio 2010 Senate Polling Avg:  Rob Portman
June 2010: 41%
Election-  57%

2012 Senate Polling Avg: Josh Mandel
June 2012- 36%
Election-  45%

2014 Governor Polling Avg: John Kasich
July 2014- 47%
Election- 64%

2016 Senate Polling Avg: Rob Portman
June 2016: 42%
Election: 58%

2016 President Polling Avg: Donald Trump
June 2016: 42%
Election: 51%

That’s an average of about 13.4% rise from summer to election day for Republicans in Ohio. It’s a remarkably consistent factor- it has been no lower than a 9% gain for Republicans in this time period. But what about the Democrats? Here’s a quick summary of Democrats gain/loss from June polling to election day results in Ohio.

2010 Senate: -1.6%

2012 Senate: +2.7%

2014 Governor: -8%

2016 Senate: -4.3%

2016 President: -0.3%

Total Average: -2.3%

Yes, the Democrat candidates on average have lost 2.3% from their summer polling to election day in November. This is the most classic example of Democrats hitting their ceiling early while at the same time Republicans are at their floor. It gives off the impression that the Democrat will crush the Republican, but this never ends up happening, even when it looks like it will. Now, for the fun part, let’s put this into place for Jim Renacci- this years candidate.

2018 Senate Polling Avg: Jim Renacci
June 2018: 38%
Election Day: ?

Hypothetically, if we add the 13.4% average gain for Republican candidates, Renacci ends up here:

2018 Senate Polling Avg: Jim Renacci
June 2018: 38%
Election Day: 51.4%

Seems a little too good to be true? That may be so, given that since 2010 the electorate and winds were largely moving into the Republicans favor. After all, among the Democrat list above, Sherrod Brown’s 2012 performance was the only one that gained from summer for the Democrats. But we also know that Josh Mandel gained 9% off his polling in 2012 as well. Hypothetically, let’s add Mandel’s number to Renacci:

2018 Senate Polling Avg: Jim Renacci
June 2018: 38%
Election Day: 47%

47% may not be enough to get Renacci a win, but it’s enough to make for a great race. This is also below the average that a typical Republican gets in Ohio from June to election day. However, the 9% that Mandel added in 2012 could’ve been lower than the 13.4% average for two big reasons:

1. Obama was on the ticket in 2012, and won Ohio by 2%
2. Ohio has shifted very significantly more to the right since 2012

If we take these two factors into play, it seems illogical to say Renacci would get any lower than the 45% that Mandel got in 2012. In fact, the evidence all points to Renacci getting much higher than 45%. If Mandel got 45% in a year where Obama was on the ticket and carried Ohio, and back when Ohio was much more left than it is today- then how could Renacci go less than 45%? He probably won’t, and it’s likely he’s goes a few points higher than that. According to his summer polling, he’s likely to get 47% at a minimum and 51.3% at a ceiling. One thing’s for sure- this race is not going to be a blowout like most prognosticators are leading us to believe, and it’s likely Renacci and Brown will be tied going into election day.