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No other non-presidential candidate has suffered more negative Super PAC attacks ads than Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. And the conventional wisdom is that he should be in serious trouble. He's a freshman legislator in his first reelection campaign—the point at which every elected official is most vulnerable. His politics are undoubtedly more progressive than his dead-even state should deliver. And he represents a state with relatively small non-white voting population, a demographic Democrats have supposedly lost.

So conservative billionaires have poured cash into deposing Brown, over $10.5 million as of three weeks ago. And what has that bought them?

Look at those trends above. Brown started the year with a polling composite of 46.7 percent. He's now at 45.2 percent. Meanwhile, his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel, has yet to get out of the 40s. In fact, the only pollster to show Mandel above 40 percent has been Rasmussen. Take him out, Brown moves just a blip, while Mandel is even further behind at 38.2 percent.

If you've ever longed for some glimmer of hope that the era of corporate-funded Super PACs won't completely overwhelm our democracy, this is it. If they can't blow Brown out of the water with an 8-figure ad blitz, it means that their ability to influence elections—while it exists!—isn't the be-all, end-all of politics.

Such negative campaign also does little to build up the challenger, as Mandel's only significant bump all year was the consolidation of the conservative vote after the GOP primary in March.

Now check out the presidential trends:

When the GOP's presidential standard-bearer is stuck at 42, and has never been higher than 43.8 percent, there's something else going on in Ohio. Four years ago, it was pretty much dead-even:
2008 Ohio presidential Real Clear Politics polling composite trendlines. On July 31, 2008, Obama led 46 to 45.5.
Given Obama's national erosion, Ohio should be lean-Romney. The fact that it's not, despite the general lack of Obama-friendly demographics, means something. What that might be I can't say. But whatever it is, it's certainly giving both Brown and Obama a boost.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 01:33 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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