There are two indisputable facts to remember while reading through the new poll from Quinnipiac on the Ohio Governor’s race:
- Strickland, the DGA, and Big Labor have outspent the GOP nearly 3-1 on attack ads against John Kasich.
- They didn’t work.
Additionally, Ted’s approval numbers have worsened as has the opinion of voters about how Ted has done with the budget and economy.
As I said back in April, “Strickland needs to find a way to fix his own reputation while defining Kasich negatively at the same time. And that’s extremely hard to do.”
And the results of this poll affirm that Strickland is facing this exact problem.
Kasich remains at 38. No change. None. Nearly $3 million spent by the Democrats and this is what they have to show for it. Looking deeper, Kasich’s standing among Republicans has actually improved from the last Quinnipiac Poll, moving up to 81-6. If Democrats want anything to crow about, it’s the slight movement among Independents. Strickland holds a slight lead, but within the Margin of Error. I guess that’s what $3 million buys ya.
But the most important number is owned by Ted. 43.
As Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown stressed, an incumbent this far underwater is nothing but bad news for Ted Strickland.
It isn’t Ted Strickland. The Governor saw his worst favorable number since November of 2009. Coming in at 42%, this puts to rest the theory that Ted Strickland is a popular guy that people may disagree with, but they still like.
Kasich is still unknown to the majority of Ohioans. One positive for the Dems has been an increase in Kasich’s negatives among Independents. That said, he also increased his positives. Ultimately, his net approval over disapproval among Indies shrunk from +14 to +9. Once again, is that worth nearly $3M?
Once we see the Kasich introduction on TV, it will be interesting to watch what happens to these numbers.
When asked the question of whether they are satisfied with the way things are going in Ohio, voters are unsatisfied by a net -19 points.
Among Independents that net difference shoots up to -33 points.
And with a number that has to leave Democrats worried about voter enthusiasm, 40% of Dems are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their state. Does anyone think it’s easy to motivate a base that isn’t happy with the direction of the state?
44% approve of the job Ted is doing.
How bad is that?
The worst of Ted’s entire term.
The Three Pillars
As we all very well know by now, elections with an incumbent are far and away referendums on the incumbent.
Quinnipiac does a good job of asking three questions that provide solid insight about where the public stands on the quality of the job the Governor has done. These answers are important because they set the stage for how the Governor can and will be portrayed in the Fall.
Question 1. Has Ted kept his promises?
Only 31% said yes. The worst of Ted’s entire term. (Turnaround Ohio, anyone?)
29% of Indies said yes and 29% of Dems said no. Killer.
Question 2. How has Ted done on the economy?
54% disapprove. 33% approve. The worst of Ted’s entire term. (Jobs crisis, anyone?)
Question 3. How has Ted done on the state budget?
52% disapprove. 31% approve. The worst of Ted’s entire term. ($8 billion deficit, anyone?)
Who gets the job?
When asked who would be better for rebuilding Ohio’s economy, the answers were split evenly, 38% for Ted, 39% for Kasich. At first glance some may think that’s bad news for Kasich. But those people ignore the fact that the vast majority of Ohioans have yet to be educated about Kasich’s success in Congress balancing the federal budget. After all, they have yet to see any positive commercials from Kasich yet. Additionally, remember Kasich has been getting hammered by ads from Ted, the DGA and big labor.
Some may see the top line on this poll and beg for Kasich to start dropping cash on the airwaves.
In reality, this tells us the patience from the Kasich campaign has officially paid off.
Despite the overwhelming attacks, Kasich’s net negatives have only negligibly increased, and Strickland hasn’t increased his lead one bit.
Rather than the RGA or Kasich’s campaign dropping enough cash to even out the ad war, the GOP has saved the cash to spend it another day. One a lot closer to election day.
Remember, I stated long ago that Strickland had the unenviable task of trying to damage Kasich’s reputation while improving his own. Rather than doing that, Strickland’s team has foolishly ignored his own negatives and the results of that strategy are seen in the Three Pillars above.
Incumbents can’t win when the voters overwhelmingly disapprove of the job he or she is doing.
And that’s where Ted finds himself.