As we all know by now, there were a slew of polls that came out yesterday that showed the Ohio Governor’s race in a virtual dead heat.
All included Likely Voter models, as is common practice this close to election day.
Reuters used a smaller sample than even Rasmussen uses, only 440, and had Kasich up by 1. Unfortunately, they didn’t reveal any crosstabs which makes the results particularly difficult to analyze.
Fox News had Kasich up 45-43. We discussed the details behind that poll yesterday morning. You can read it here.
And CBS News unveiled their first poll of the race showing Kasich up by 1, 43-42.
Once again, Strickland is stuck below 45 in a poll with a particularly large sample – 941 likely voters.
But it was the partisan breakdown that had me breathing a little easier after seeing the race so tight.
Kasich gets 79% of Republicans. Strickland gets 79% of Democrats. And Kasich wins Independents 44-33. If that margin among Independents sticks, I have no doubt that we win.
Then you can take into account voter enthusiasm.
Once these people are asked who they are going to vote for, we get to consider how likely they are to actually go out and pull the lever for their candidate.
A 31 point gap? Um. Yeah. I’ll take that. That’s better than the Dems were doing against Blackwell and we know how well that turned out.
The challenge for Strickland will be in finding a way to quickly increase that enthusiasm.
With these numbers, that will be a daunting challenge:
Nearly 40% of Democrats don’t believe their own Governor has made any progress fixing the economy? That’s not good.
But ultimately, if you want to focus on one thing about these polls, it shouldn’t be the margin. In this environment and with the massive GOP enthusiasm advantage, it’s a safe bet that Kasich will secure an adequate portion of the base vote.
The story is, as it has been for months, Strickland’s inability to come even close to 50% support.
In the four most recent polls that all show the race at an aggregate margin of 2 points, Strickland averages just 44% support.
Once again, I’ll leave it to Eric Rademacher from the Ohio Poll to tell you why that’s significant:
“The fact is, for an incumbent governor, it’s a little bit late in the year to be under 50 percent support.”
Yes, the Strickland team has reason to cheer. Their intellectually dishonest campaign to attack John Kasich and deflect from the Governor’s own record has finally made some inroads. It did inflict some damage and ultimately made this a tight race.
But still, after four years, only 44% of Ohioans support the Governor. Despite months on the campaign trail that number is just as bad as it was in January. It’s been a flatline.
The question? In just less than five weeks can Strickland find a way to improve a level of support that has seen no significant movement for 10 months?
I think the Kasich team and the RGA will have something to say about that.