Anyone who follows political elections knows who Nate Silver is. The statistician started his career by developing a program for predicting the performance of Major League Baseball players and then turned his talents to projecting election winners.
In the 2008 election, he correctly predicted the winner of 49 of 50 states, and also nailed all 35 Senate races. In 2012, he correctly predicted all 50 states, and was correct on 33 of the 35 Senate races.
When Nate Silver speaks, politicos listen.
Last week, Silver’s blog published an analysis of next year’s gubernatorial races, including Ohio’s. What does he have to say?
Mr. Snyder, Mr. LePage, Mr. Corbett and Mr. Scott may find hope in the fortunes of another Republican governor of a swing state who was elected in 2010: Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. Mr. Kasich’s job approval rating was in the 30s in 2011. As Ohio’s economy turned around, so did Mr. Kasich’s image. The percentage of Ohio residents who approved of his job performance climbed into the 40s in 2012, and recent surveys have shown his numbers rebounding into the 50s.
Those numbers do not guarantee that Mr. Kasich will be re-elected, but he is in much better shape than his Republican colleagues. Not surprisingly, an incumbent governor’s job approval ratings have been shown to be strongly correlated with how constituents vote.
Obviously, a lot can change in the next year and a half. But this optimism is backed up by the fact that almost nobody in the Ohio Democratic Party is stepping up to challenge Kasich. So far, all ODP Chairman Chris Redfern can come up with is overly ambitious diva Ed, excuse me, Edward Fitzgerald. The guy is so anxious to get out of the job he won just a couple of years ago, he plays on Facebook during council meetings.
If Democrats like former governor Ted Strickland, Betty Sutton and Tim Ryan thought Kasich were vulnerable, they would be lining up to run. The fact that they aren’t, plus Silver’s analysis, shows that Kasich is in solid shape early in the campaign.