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Monday, November 01, 2010

Democratic Early Voters Surging On Cincinnati's West Side: Oh-01 Lifeline For Steve Driehaus vs. GOP's Chabot

Data Shows Dem Oh-01 Voting Surge
 CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The so-called "enthusiasm gap" that had Republicans fired up and voting in droves while Democrats sat on their keisters has vanished in the heaviest populated portion of Ohio's 1st Congressional District.  Early voting data shows 15,604 Democrats have voted in Oh-01, a number that has blown past  Republican turnout.  The surge took place late last week and over the weekend.  The GOP now trails with 14,424 early voters.  Republicans had been ahead in the Oh-01 matchup for more than a month.  Nearly 60% of the early votes cast in Hamilton County -- which includes Cincinnati -- are in Oh-01, which indicates massive public interest in the mid-term House contest.  Steve Driehaus, a freshman Democrat, faces Republican Steve Chabot, who held the seat for 14 years.  Both are from Cincinnati's West Side, and their rematch is clearly SW Ohio's most closely watched.  If Dems show up for Driehaus, their votes in statewide races will help the statewide ticket from Gov. Ted Strickland on down.  Nearly 12,000 independent votes have been cast in Oh-01 ahead of Election Day -- if they break nearly even Driehaus has a chance.  Driehaus has been written off by many political experts and commentators.  But the numbers suggest that Democratic voters are hanging with him.  Of the 26,000 Democratic early ballots issued in Hamilton County through Oct. 30, 18,566 were in Oh-01 and 84% have been returned.

Democrats have also been showing up in greater numbers at the Hamilton County Board of Elections to cast ballots ahead of the polls opening on Nov. 2.  Through Oct. 30, there were 3,674 Dem votes vs. 1,024 Republican.  [UPDATE: 1:24pm -- At noon today, the board of elections reported the latest count at that downtown polling site, 3,828 D, 1,059 R.  These are walk-in voters.  The tide is still surging Dem on election eve.]  Some suggest this is an indication that the Democrats' ground game has traction, and that the party's get-out-the-vote efforts are delivering results.

Still, polls (the few that have been disclosed) have shown Chabot leading, but the Republican has cautioned his supporters not to grow overconfident.  Last week on his campaign blog, Chabot said "there is nothing certain in life" but sounded like he was pretty sure he was going to flush Driehaus.  At the time, nobody was sure if the voting surge by Democrats would arrive.  Everyone was talking about the enthusiasm gap.  Here's Chabot:

"We're less than a week away from what could be one of the most momentous midterm elections in history.  All indications are that the American people are chomping at the bit to change the direction the Obama Administration and the Pelosi/Reid Congress have been taking this nation.  I believe we will win our race, and we'll once again be represented by someone who truly believes in less government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.  However, there's nothing certain in life, and ultimately the voters of the First Congressional District have the final say, and they will deliver their verdict . . ."

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