The latest Ohio Poll, released on April 29th, gave Gov. Ted Strickland a 56% approval rating. Ted is above 50. He should be happy. He's in the driver's seat.
Unfortunately for Ted, and Ohio, he's driving with his eyes closed.
While the numbers look good on the surface, there is a sense that key swing voters in Ohio are starting to recognize the utter and complete failures of the Strickland Administration when it comes to the number one issue facing the Buckeye State: The economy. As every pollster knows, voter frustration on major issues is the first step towards overall disapproval of a candidate, and this will be no different.
Let's look at the numbers...
Right now, Ohio residents feel exactly the same way about the economic conditions nationally as they do in Ohio. In other words, everyone thinks things are just as shitty nationwide as they are in Ohio. As we've gone over again and again here on 3BP, this isn't the case. From jobs to GDP, Ohio is doing much worse than the nation as a whole. Whose fault can this be? Ted Strickland. This can and should be exploited by the Kasich campaign. Provide the voters a comparison. Help them understand that while things may be bad nationally, under Governor Strickland's watch they've gotten that much worse.
Will that help? Well, since 54% of independents disapprove of the way Strickland is handling Ohio's economy, I'm guessing yes.
But what about their outlook? A good barometer of confidence in a leader is whether they feel that person can make their own life better. Well, things aren't looking good for Strickland there either. There is major pessimism about whether things are improving, especially relative to the rest of the country. Independents think by a 47-20 margin that things are going to improve nationally from an economic standpoint. But when it comes to Ohio's chances for improvement, that margin inverses to 23-66.
Finally, geographically speaking, Strickland's highest approval ratings came from central Ohio. What else is central Ohio known for? Being John Kasich's base. Without question, Strickland will lose a lot of support from the center of the state once the campaigns start picking up steam next year.
Ted Strickland is no Barack Obama. He isn't going to stir anyone's passions and semantically deflect the debate to his own benefit. On top of that, there is simply too much data depicting Strickland's failures. To put it simply, Kasich has a helluva lot of ammo to throw the Governor's way.
And it looks like the media isn't going to let up on Strickland anytime soon. Just in today's Columbus Dispatch the editors called the Governor's budget "unrealistic to the point of irresponsibility."
Keep it coming, Mr. Wolfe. Keep it coming.