Signs continue to proliferate that 2010 will be a very, very bad election year for Democrats. The latest poll of the Ohio Governor’s race—a contest I have pointed to as a bellwether—has incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland down 10 points to former GOP congressman John Kasich. The poll by Public Policy Polling (Daily Kos’ pollster) has Kasich at 50 percent, with Strickland at 40 and 10 percent undecided. That’s a terrible position for an incumbent to be in on September 1.
Meanwhile, the Dems seem to have already lost Senate races that in any other year should be close-fought contests. Two top Dem recruits—Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan—are trailing flawed, Bush-tied opponents Rob Portman (Bush’s budget director) and Roy Blount (a longtime member of the Bush-era House GOP leadership). Neither Fisher nor Carnahan has led in a single poll for months. In New Hampshire, Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes is having similar trouble with GOPer Kelly Ayotte, a former* state attorney general. These are all open-seat races for Republican seats, and the Dems don’t seem likely to flip a single one. That means the Republicans can move their focus elsewhere, to states like Washington, Wisconsin, and California, where Sens. Patty Murray, Russ Feingold, and Barbara Boxer, three important liberal votes, face very tough races.
Finally, the latest polling on the generic congressional ballot (i.e., would you rather vote for a Republican or Democratic candidate) gives the GOP their biggest lead ever. As SwingState’s James L. writes, “Ted Strickland has run a good campaign, but he can’t make the weather.”
*I corrected this per comments.