On March 6, the Ohio Republican primary will be held. Today, when I was driving to and from Cleveland — more on that later — I heard the first radio ads of the primary season, which means that the vote cannot be far away.
Today a Rasmussen poll reported that Rick Santorum has a big edge over Mitt Romney among Ohio voters. I don’t question the mechanics of the poll, but I suspect it means very little. Santorum was the Senator from neighboring Pennsylvania for years, but I think very few people know much else about him. Those who say they currently support him, I would wager, are expressing support that is probably not much more than skin deep and largely a reflection of their lack of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney.
I’ve not heard anyone in Ohio talking about the Republican candidates in any kind of significant way. There have been jokes about the peccadilloes and blunders of candidates who have since withdrawn, and some water cooler chatter about the seemingly endless debates, but very little discussion about the candidates’ respective substantive positions or other attributes.
That probably makes Ohio fertile ground for aggressive TV and radio campaigns and the kind of “negative advertising” that everyone bemoans — but that has been proven, repeatedly, to be effective. In Ohio, the Republican candidates largely remain blank sheets of paper. What will that paper look like when March 6 finally comes? Over the next few weeks, I’ll report on what I see and hear in that regard.