As we all know by now, Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown once stated to me:
Voters are much less complex than many of us think. They like things. They don't like things. Most of them don't focus on specifics. [In 2008,] Barack Obama was the antidote to George W. Bush. In Ohio, John Kasich is the antidote to Ted Strickland.In other words, if they are happy with how things are going, they'll re-elect the incumbent, if they aren't, they'll vote for the new guy.
With that in mind, let's move on to the meat of this post.
Back in July, I compared Ohio counties with high unemployment rates to those that voted for Ted Strickland in 2006.
Well, with 2010 just days away and a new set of unemployment numbers to start the year off, I figured it was right time to revisit the idea.
After all, all politics is local.
Below is the most recent listing of unemployment rates broken down by county.
So you wouldn't have to, I broke down the number of counties with exuberantly high unemployment rates - 12% or higher - and found 33 counties qualify. That's nearly 40% of all counties in the state.
Thanks to the ginormous unemployment rate, it's plenty obvious that voters in these counties will be vulnerable to targeted mailings and other paid media highlighting the job crisis at a county-level.
Now, it's fair to say that Gov. Strickland would hope these high unemployment rates came in counties that Blackwell substantially won, thereby meaning the Governor had little to lose.
Alas, that's not the case.
Below is a table listing all 33 counties, the 2006 election result, and the approximate total number of votes in each county in 2006. They are color coded by how strongly they voted for Ted Strickland - red means Blackwell won the county, blue means Strickland won by 9 or more, and purple means Strickland won by 8 or less.
First reaction? That's a lot of blue.
Second reaction? No, seriously. That's a lot of blue.
These 33 counties, all currently with 12%+ unemployment, accounted for 17.5% of all votes cast in 2006.
What that means is very simple - Governor Ted Strickland has a lot to lose in 2010, especially in the blue counties listed above.
If the traditional maxim is true, that voters vote based on their perception of the state of things, then these Strickland voters will be extremely vulnerable to targeted mailings and paid media focusing on the particularly high unemployment rate in their specific county.
In a race where Strickland is already running 9 points back, that's good news for the GOP.