The GOP may as well hang it up, in Ohio anyway. That's the message the Times is sending this week.
First on Monday came Adam Nagourney's lead story Monday, with a lead tailor-made to demoralize Republicans:
"Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year's fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.
"The decision to effectively write off Mr. DeWine's seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign's final three weeks, signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success."
John Broder and Megan Thee follow up Wednesday with a New York Times/CBS News poll done among Ohio voters, "In Battleground State, Alarm Bells for Bush and G.O.P. in Poll Results." The text box was no more cheery: "Voters in Ohio say they overwhelmingly favor Democrats."
Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine is still doomed: "The tide of dissatisfaction appears ready to wash out Mr. DeWine, who is trailing Mr. Brown by 34 percent to 48 percent, the poll found. The Democratic candidate for governor, Representative Ted Strickland, is leading the Republican nominee, J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, by 53 percent to 29 percent.
"The omens in the poll were almost uniformly grim for the president and his party. Six out of 10 respondents disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the economy and Iraq, and a plurality of Ohioans (by 40 percent to 36 percent) disapprove of the way he is managing the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. The approval rating for the Republican-led Congress is a paltry 22 percent. Among adults nationwide, 27 percent approve of the way Congress is doing its job.
"One bright spot for the president and Republicans was that while about 60 percent said they had made up their minds about this year's elections, 4 in 10 said it was too early to say how they would vote."