Sunday, June 21, 2009

It's a race.

PPP is out with a new poll showing the Ohio governor's race in a statistical dead heat.

How big is this?

Well, in the last statewide poll conducted by Quinnipiac back in March, Ted Strickland held a 20 point lead over John Kasich.

And now, just 3 months, one campaign kickoff announcement, and 100,000 jobless Ohioans later, it's a dead heat.

There were some interesting numbers that stuck out as I read through the poll.

1) Ideological Breakdown vs. Party Breakdown

Responders identified themselves as 18% liberal, 48% moderate and 34% conservative.
When asked to identify with a Party, things broke down to 50% Democrat, 35% Republican and 15% other/independent.

So while there are almost twice as many conservatives as there are liberals, it's still much cooler to be a Democrat in Ohio. Thanks, Bob Taft.

2) The unknown.

Kasich's approval/disapproval numbers are nearly even at 31/30. Is that a reason to worry?

No. But why not? I'll tell you why not. Both numbers are low. That means he's not necessarily liked or unliked, he's simply unknown. A positive is that Kasich is +11 among Independents, and a whopping 43% don't know enough about him. That means that among a key voting bloc there is still lots to learn about Kasich. Democrats want you to hear about his time at Lehman Brothers. Kasich wants you to learn about how he was the chief architect of the nation's first balanced budget in nearly 30 years. But, as we mentioned last week, thanks goes out to the Ohio Dems for increasing Kasich's name ID and helping to introduce him as the gubernatorial candidate that wants to cut taxes. Thanks, Chairman Redfern! That kind of publicity is always welcome!

3) Strickland's GOTV problem.

38% of Democrats either aren't sure or disapprove of Ted Strickland. Kasich's numbers are relatively similar, but he's not the one that's been hiding under the Governor's desk since 2007. The fact is, a sitting Governor should be seriously worried about his ability to Get Out The Vote when after 30 months in office well over 1/3 of his own Party does not have a favorable view of him.

4) Independents.

Kasich wins Independents 54-33. If that keeps up, Kasich wins hands down.

5) The Obama Factor

Strickland wishes Obama was on the ballot on Nov2 in 2010. Obviously, he isn't. But that doesn't mean he won't play a factor in the race. The question is, how much of one? With numbers this bad, this early for Strickland, one has to wonder how much of a priority the Obama White House will place on the Ohio Governor's race. Sure, he'll likely come in for a fundraiser and a rally, but how much time will he spend in Ohio for a Governor that endorsed Hillary Clinton?

Remember, the midterm elections are everything for Obama. The President wants to maintain 60 votes in the Senate. He wants to keep the majority in the House. Brunner or Fisher will be getting his attention, not Strickland, and especially with numbers that continue to plummet faster than Ohio's unemployment rate.

6) Fundraising

The Kasich finance team will be hitting fundraising particularly hard this last week before the reporting deadline of June 30th. Nothing encourages contributions like good public poll numbers. Everyone that is signed up at, you damn well better get an e-mail asking you to contribute. And if you don't, sign up at and I'll personally make sure you get accosted for cash.

Now, we all must take these numbers with a grain of salt. PPP hasn't always been the most accurate of polling firms, but they are legitimate. Personally, I'll be keeping an eye out for the first Rasmussen poll on the race.

But no matter how you stack it, people like a winner, and Kasich is looking more and more like one.

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