There are several ways to look at the new polls from Quinnipiac and Fox.
One, Kasich’s lead has shrunk to 9 from the previous Quinnipiac Poll.
Two, Kasich’s lead has improved to 6 from the previous Fox News Poll.
Three, Kasich’s average lead has increased since it began shrinking a couple weeks ago.
For now, let’s focus on the differences between the Quinnipiac poll of nearly three weeks ago and today.
Among Republicans, Kasich went from 91-4 to 88-6, a net decrease of 5.
Among Democrats, Strickland went from 84-8 to 86-7, a net increase of 3.
But the interesting movement happens among Independents.
Despite Kasich’s lead shrinking overall, Kasich’s standing among the key Independent vote improved drastically. In September, Kasich’s lead among these swing voters sat at 55-32. Today that lead has jumped to 62-29, a net gain of TEN points. In other words, during this period of time where Strickland enjoyed total dominance on TV, he lost massive ground to Kasich among the vital swing vote. That says a lot.
While Kasich’s favorables suffered a net decrease of 4 points, Ted Strickland would gladly exchange his 41-47 number for Kasich’s 46-30 favorables.
In news that will make it increasingly difficult to turn the tide, the number of voters who say their mind is made up has jumped from 85 to 89, and 91 among Kasich voters.
Strickland may also want to reconsider the Oct. 17th rally with the President. Among Independents, 6% would be more likely to vote for Strickland thanks to an Obama campaign appearance versus 39%(!) being less likely.
Ultimately, considering the value the Strickland team placed on Quinnipiac all year, and their massive sample size, a nine point lead this late in the game is quite daunting – especially with so many voters having already made up their mind.
Moving on to the Fox Poll…
Unfortunately, I don’t have the crosstabs of their previous poll and as of writing this, their link on their website takes you to the September crosstabs. What do we know? The lead that once was 2 is now up to 6 points with Kasich enjoying a 49-43 lead.
UPDATE: Ok, I’ve got the crosstabs.
In a way, the Fox News poll is a bit of the inverse of the Quinnpiac poll. Kasich improved his standing among partisans and worsened it among Independents, but not by much in either demographic.
Kasich’s favorable numbers sit at +10 overall and +20 among Independents. For Strickland, those numbers are stuck at almost the inverse, -7 overall and -20 among Independents.
Fox also includes the always enjoyable Tea Party question. This time we learn that 52% overall and 63% of Independents support them. Keep shouting profanities, Chairman Redfern. Keep telling people they are radicals that don’t like America, Governor.
But the most fun question? Their generic 2012 question. Would you support a Republican candidate or President Obama? The GOP wins 53-38 overall and 58-22 among Independents.
Ultimately, Strickland’s own standing in the polls has worsened. Once again his lowly level of support is stuck below 45, lowering to 43.4% per the RCP average.
There are four weeks until election day. Four weeks.
Strickland has tried negative ads. He’s tried positive ads. And yet he’s still flatlined. And as we all know by now, the odds of an incumbent winning when under 50% are daunting. Let’s remember the words of Eric Rademacher from the Ohio Poll:
“The fact is, for an incumbent governor, it’s a little bit late in the year to be under 50 percent support.”
And he said that 3 weeks ago.
Since nothing else has worked, the Governor needs a gamechanger.