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Thursday, June 19, 2008

OH-02 Turns Blue In 2008: 126,739 Registered Dems Now Outnumber 121,660 Republicans

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- It doesn't look like Republican country anymore. And the sudden shift to the Democrats clearly has reshaped the political complexion of the eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, where 51,753 Democrats are now registered versus 42,527 Republicans. Those suburbs are densely populated and hold more than a third of the OH-02 electorate. They have been a pillar for Republican candidates and officeholders. Just two years ago, the GOP had a lock on the area with 17,513 more registered voters than the Dems. And across Ohio's entire 2nd Congressional District -- which touches seven southern counties near the Ohio River -- a blue wave has risen. Overall, there are 126,739 Dems compared to 121,660 Republicans, a 129 percent increase since 2006.

The dramatic change in declared party alignment could be considered bad news for Republican U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, who is seeking reelection in a district that no longer looks to be a GOP stronghold. David Margolis, field director for Democrat Vic Wulsin, says the voter registration figures made public today show "the entire character of the district has changed. The number of committed Democrats in the 2nd District has more than doubled since March, turning what had been a Republican advantage into a Democratic majority." Wulsin lost by 2,517 votes in 2006 -- a year when the district had only 55,389 registered Dems.

Below are the latest numbers of Republicans and Democrats in the counties comprising Schmidt's district, with the counties color-coded by party. The data comes from the Ohio Secretary of State's office, which gets monthly reports on voter registrations from county election boards:
Adams County -- 4,354 D; 4,925 R, Dems up 89% since 2006.
Brown County -- 8,725 D; 6,108 R, Dems up 82% since 2006.
Clermont County (Schmidt's home county) -- 30,998 D; 38,579 R, Dems up 113% since 2006.
Hamilton County -- 51,753 D; 42,527 R, Dems up 167% since 2006.
Pike County -- 6,509 D; 2,741 R, Dems up 67% since 2006.
Scioto County -- 9,514 D; 4,242 R, Dems up 46% since 2006.
Warren County -- 14,859 D; 22,538 R, Dems up 188% since 2006.

To be fair, there are more registered Republicans in OH-02 now than in 2006, when Schmidt last faced Wulsin in a general election. GOP registrations are up by nearly 17%. But that didn't come anywhere close to keeping pace with the wave of Ohioans who registered as Democrats.


  1. Lots of Operation Chaos operatives in OH-2.

    Don't doubt me.

  2. Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" was all the rage during the primary, even merited a state-wide investigation for possible election tampering. I'm surprised you haven't mentioned it in this story.

    I seem to remember the SOS saying there were something like 50,000 people that switched parties, so it certainly seems like a possible factor. What do you think? How much of the shift was Republican treachery, and how much of it is here to stay?

    It's a pivotal question and the answer could shed light on which way the state will swing and hence the nation.

  3. The Rush effect? He broadcasts on WKRC-AM in Cincinnati and that station is way down the lists in ratings -- I think it pulls somewhere around a 4. It may be in 10th place, and lags sister station WLW-AM by miles. If Rush had the audience, sway and clout to drive some 60,000 people to the polls in OH-02, and convince them to change their parties, then I suspect advertisers would be ripping off the doors to buy time on WKRC. It would be a hot property. I am not aware of either situation. Rush is not even on at drive time, which is the most valuable broadcast segment. Rush is on right now, when most people are working and aren't listening to radios. He's a great entertainer, and has quite a following. And it is fun to speculate that he moved masses. If he could really move masses, I would hope that GM or Ford would sign him up immediately to start pitching their vehicles. The automakers desperately need the business. The Midwest desperately needs the jobs. And Wall Street needs a winner. Last time I looked, Clear Channel -- Rush's employer -- was having a hard time closing the deal to take itself private. If Rush was so influential, his celebrity endorsement would be worth millions. Tiger and LeBron get more endorsement cash.

  4. Bill, something's funny about the numbers, at least Hamco.

    For that 167% to be right for Hamco, there would have had to be only 19,383 Hamco Dems in 2006 (19383 x 2.67 [same as up 167%] = 51,753. That seems ridiculously low in a county with a voting-age population of at least 500,000.

  5. Tom --

    I rounded percentages from the decimal, but the raw numbers I have show there were 19,410 Dems in 2006 and 51,753 in 2008 (so your math is dead on). I haven't dropped by the Hamco Board of Elections Website lately, but I think there are some 550,000 registered voters in the entire county. So some 10% of the registered voters in Hamilton County are Dems who reside in OH-02. Does that sound implausible or offbase?

  6. The Obama team themselves said Limbaugh was worth 7 points in Indiana.

    Of course he's having problems with the truth lately so maybe he didn't mean that either; like NAFTA and public financing.

  7. Hi Mark --

    Maybe somebody was having trouble with the truth if they said Limbaugh was worth 7 points in Indiana. Look, if Limbaugh is all powerful, why no commercial endorsements? You would think the diet pill folks would be drooling to buy spots -- after all he knows how they work. Are used car dealers selling on his show?

  8. His sponsors on his show are: General Motors, Joseph A Banks, Allen Brothers Steaks, Sleep Number Beds, and Renaii (sp?) Tankless Water Heaters and locals.

  9. First, I'm one of those new Hamilton County democrats. I couldn't wait to cast my vote for The Billary. Unless something like this happens again, it will be the last one I ever vote for.

    Second, There's no doubt that Hamilton County is becoming more democratic. All you have to do is look at all the flight of people with jobs and businesses fleeing to Warren, Butler and Butler and Clermont counties.

    Third within a decade, Hamilton county will look like the city of Cincinnati, lots of crime, crappy schools, no businesses/jobs and high taxes; pretty much a tell tale sign that democrats are running the place.

    It'll will be yet another democratic paradise.