This is sort of amazing:

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds there’s been a fundamental shift in the Ohio political landscape over the last three months and it looks like the biggest beneficiary of that could be Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

In December Brown looked extremely vulnerable for reelection, now his leads against six different Republicans range from 15 to 19 points.

What’s been going on since December in Ohio? The collective bargaining dispute, of course. Admittedly, this is a Democratic pollster, but PPP truly is one of the best out there, and it was right on the money practically every time I checked in 2010. And it looks like Kasich’s decision to target collective bargaining could very well have spillover effects into congressional races as well. Considering that Republicans won five House seats from Democrats in 2010, this could be disastrous indeed for those freshmen.

Sherrod Brown

Safe?

Now, obviously, it’s important not to get too carried away. We’re still 20 months out of Election Day 2012, and considering how unpredictable the last 20 months were, it’s dangerous to assume too much. But I think what this represents is a severe miscalculation on the part of the new Republicans in power in the Midwest. They won, in large part, due to the economy and lingering resentment over the actions taken to rescue the banks, plus a large dose of Democratic apathy. The Tea Party phenomenon might have fired up the Republican base, but Republicans almost always vote anyway, so the effect is likely overrated. But apparently this victory has led Republicans to believe that the normal laws of politics do not apply anymore, that they can do anything. The tone-setting aggressiveness of Scott Walker and John Kasich has alienated a lot of voters, according to the polls. Beating up on working people during a recession has (unsurprisingly) turned out to be an unpopular move. And while I haven’t seen polling yet, I’m guessing the even greater radicalism going on in Michigan and Pennsylvania will be even less popular. Michigan is set to nearly eliminate corporate taxes while raising them on the poor, and Pennsylvania is going to halve the amount spent on college education. To me, this is just nuts. It’s true that Americans have turned a bit to the right over the past two years, though the extent is probably overrated. But cutting university funding is going to be phenomenally unpopular, as every parent with a kid in college is going to be cursing Corbett’s name when the bills come due.

Still, it’s pretty astonishing how quickly the turnaround in Ohio has occurred. If this holds, Brown isn’t even going to be in a toss-up race, and Senate races in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Indiana could well wind up tilting in the Democrats’ favor as well. This observation by Jon Chait strikes me as right:

And so the question of what Obama has to do to rebuild his standing in the Midwest — other than have the economy recover and be popular generally — is to let GOP governors re-trash the party brand in the meantime. In other words, Obama may not need a Midwest strategy at all. The Republicans are carrying out his Midwest strategy for him.

It would be ironic if the Tea Party managed to do what George W. Bush never quite managed to do: kill off the Republican Party in the Midwest. Think about it: Bush managed to destroy the Republicans’ strength in foreign policy, which used to be their signature strength. Republicans pivoted to domestic policy out of necessity. If Walker, Kasich, Rick Snyder, Rick Scott and Tom Corbett tank the GOP on those issues as well…well, it will be rebuilding time for sure. That’s far from a certainty, but I think it can’t be discarded as a possibility, and if you’re a prog looking for something to be hopeful about, this is it.

To put it in other terms, first there’s this (@4:30):

And then this:

Lev filed this under: , , ,  
  1. Metavirus says:

    i think it’s a very real possibility. people are seeing in stark relief what happens when republicans do when they try to “govern”. i think this has the making of a HUGE backlash for 2012

    • Lev says:

      Seriously. In Pennsylvania in particular. I get that a lot of these right-wingers are millionaires and aren’t exactly in touch with the common man, what with having so much money, but I can tell you that if college fees went up by 25-50% in just a year there would be riots in my state.

  2. [...] maximalist a Tea Party platform for as long as he can. Which, given that a solid liberal freshman now has double-digit leads in the Ohio U.S. Senate race (against, among others, Kasich’s Lt. Governor, who is probably none to pleased about this), [...]

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