The primary questions when analyzing an endorsement are these – will it move votes, and if so, to what level?
So with that in mind, what does the recent endorsement of Ted Strickland by the Buckeye Firearms Association mean to the Governor’s race?
The answer? Not much.
First off, it would require there to be a substantially large number of single-issue, pro-2nd amendment voters in Ohio. But there aren’t. Most 2nd amendment supporters are conservative, and if the Buckeye Firearms online forum is any indication, they are smart enough not to focus on one single issue when selecting a candidate.
Second, Buckeye Firearms will never be going up on TV promoting their candidate, and that’s how you really move votes.
Third, and most important, the more Strickland pushes this endorsement, the more he risks his own base and moderate swing voters that are still considering supporting him. While the base may not vote for Kasich, their annoyance with Strickland swinging hard to the right on one important issue may keep them home. Remember, 32% of Democrats don’t have a favorable opinion of Strickland. That’s lower than Jon Corzine among his Dem base in polls right before the New Jersey gubernatorial election. Does anyone think a major Strickland p.r. effort pushing his support from the NRA and Buckeye Firearms will help encourage the Dem base and moderate swing voters to go to the polls on his behalf? Didn’t think so.
All that being said, would I have preferred Strickland not get the endorsement? Of course. Will it help gain votes for Strickland? A few, sure. But for it to make even a 1 percent difference in the election there would need to be nearly 40,000 single issue 2nd amendment voters in Ohio that buy into this endorsement. And that’s not taking into account the Dem base and moderate swing voters that are turned off from it. This isn’t a game changer.
But it is inside baseball. The only people paying attention to these endorsements are those that read blogs like this one, not the hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters that are more worried about finding a job.
It’s a bump in the road for Kasich. That’s a lot easier to get past than Strickland’s Mount Everest sized problem of nearly 400,000 jobs lost as an incumbent governor.