Real Clear Politics has an article that further elaborates on the famous “under 50%” rule for incumbents. Considering Strickland’s consistent failure to top 45%, it’s particularly significant.
In it they highlight six important caveats when discussing the rule, and they are interesting to consider when thinking about the Ohio Governor’s race. My comments on each as they apply to Ohio are in bold.
- The rule is weaker in races where the incumbent is just under 50 percent. [Does not apply]
- The rule is weaker in races that haven’t really engaged yet, where candidates have huge leads. [Does not apply]
- Beware polls that don’t push leaners. [Only Rasmussen does]
- The rule is weaker in races where the incumbent is an appointee or is succeeding a retiring governor. [Does not apply]
- The rule is weaker in races where the challenger is a de facto incumbent. [Kasich is still largely unknown, does not apply]
- It doesn’t apply to races where there is a strong third party challenge for obvious reasons. [Does not apply]
You can click here for the full article and deeper explanations of the caveats, but it’s clear that the caveats for the famous Under 50% rule don’t apply to Governor Strickland. In other words, as long as Strickland is running under 50% and behind Kasich, it’s bad news for Strickland.
Moving on to the latest polling news, Rasmussen has the Governor’s race back into a toss-up with Kasich leading 48-45. The partisan breakdown isn’t necessarily good for either candidate with Kasich winning GOPers 83-11 and Strickland winning Dems 78-17. Kasich wins Independents by just 47-42. That’s a substantial change from two weeks ago when Kasich was ahead with Indies by 59-26. Considering Rasmussen’s relatively small sample size, you have to take the Indie numbers with a grain of salt. The true number for Rasmussen is likely somewhere between the two.
Overall, the Rasmussen poll differs from other recent polls by showing more tightening of the race. Obviously, that’s not good. That said, it’s just one poll. Overall, this won’t improve Strickland’s standing in the RCP average above 43 points, if that. The same level it’s been since January. And as the incumbent rule states, that’s not good.