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Breaking it Down: The 1/14 Rasmussen Ohio Gubernatorial Poll

Scott Rasmussen fooled me.

Normally he puts out his Ohio polls in subsequent days – not both on the same day.

No fair.

But I digress.

The latest Ohio gubernatorial poll has Kasich maintaining a sizeable lead – 7 points, over Governor Strickland.

Now I’m sure Democrats will cheer that their candidate has closed the gap from 9 points in the last poll to 7. And from a talking points standpoint, I guess it’s something to talk about. I guess.

But the reality is this – this is the 2nd poll in a row showing Kasich up far outside the margin of error.

And he hasn’t run one ad yet.

But let’s get to the numbers.

Party ID
The first number that jumps out is the massive lead Kasich has among Independents – winning 53-23. If that proportion holds, Kasich wins the remaining 19% of undecided independents 12-6, with 1% going to an Independent candidate. If Kasich wins the Independent vote 65-29, 11.2.10 will be a landslide.

Strickland did show some improvement among his base, gaining 7 points among Democrats. The Governor can likely thank his tax hike and budget reconciliation for that increase. Unfortunately for him, while that decision helped among his base, it ultimately hurt him – but we’ll get to that later.

Strickland wins among women at 45-42, and among African-Americans 60-10. Neither of those are where they should be for a Democrat, especially the latter. With that said, it will be interesting to see how/if Taylor pushes anymore women over to Kasich. If Strickland does get who he’s offered the spot to, Yvette McGee Brown, he hits both the female and African-American demographic. These numbers will give us a small indication of how the LG picks fared at a demographic level, but it will be hard to really utilize this metric until both campaigns start buying some TV time.

Favorable numbers were strikingly similar between the two candidates – both at 47. But it was unfavorables that stood out. While Kasich’s are only at 27%, Strickland is at a mindboggling 49% unfavorable among all voters.

Looking at Independents made it even worse for the incumbent Governor. His favorable rating was at 26-63(!). A -37 rating. Meanwhile Kasich is at +27 among the same swing voters.

Job Approval
This is where Taxing Ted hurt himself with his budget “solution” from last month.

Before the tax hike was announced, Governor Approval was at 48-50. Very bad, but not desperately awful. And now? Down to 43-54. Nearly a quarter of Democrats disapprove and 73%(!!!) of Independent swing voters disapprove of the job Ted Strickland is doing as Governor. That Independent number is up a full 16 points since before the tax hike was announced.

This poll does one thing – it confirms that the poll last month showing Kasich far ahead was not an outlier. And 7 points is far ahead. If you adapt the number of Ohioans who voted in 2006 to a 7 point margin of victory you have Kasich winning by nearly 1.8 million votes.

Does that stick? I hope so, but with all the mud ready to be flung in this race, that lead is bound to shrink. Kasich supporters can’t let these numbers get them overconfident. If they really want A New Day, they’re gonna have to work for it.

Finally, it should be noted that Rasmussen polls are different from most polls taken this far out from the election in that they focus only on the more accurate model of likely voters. Quinnipiac, the other pollster that has regularly polled the Ohio race (and should be releasing another one soon) interviews registered voters, then converts to a likely voter model closer to the election. As anyone who follows polling knows, interviewing registered voters rather than likely voters tends to trend better for Democrats. I expect a new Quinnipiac poll next week, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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