Election Day 2010 is exactly two months away. In Ohio, the two races that seem to be receiving the most national attention are the race for the open Senate seat, between Democrat Lee Fisher and Republican Rob Portman, and the contest for Governor, where Republican John Kasich is challenging incumbent Ted Strickland. The polls indicate that Portman is slightly ahead of Fisher, with somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of the electorate undecided, and that Kasich has a more significant lead over Strickland, with about 10 percent of respondents declaring that they are undecided.
I’m not sure what such polls mean at this point. I haven’t heard many people talking about these contests or about the individual candidates, their positions on the issues, or their relative merit. My guess is that political addicts have been focused on these races and polling and fundraising data, but many average people haven’t paid much attention — yet. When you are dealing with a tough economy and your own issues, why think about an election that is months into the future?
After the Labor Day weekend passes and the barbecue equipment is put aside, the average person will start to pay attention. (They will be forced to, as the onslaught of political commercials begins.) People will begin to think about the issues and talk about the races with their friends and colleagues. During this period, candidates will have the opportunity to reach the undecideds, as they form their opinions about the races. Given the tough state of the Ohio economy, I think it will be a challenging sell for the Democratic candidates, but time will tell the tale.