Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breaking it Down: The 12/9 Rasmussen Ohio Governor Poll

72 times.

That's how many times Kasich's name was mentioned on Twitter within two hours of Rasmussen's latest poll on the Ohio Governor's race being released. A far greater reaction than September's poll showing Kasich up only one, this news gave Ohioans, and others from all over, a clear indication that Ohio was far more winnable than national pundits had been claiming for months.

Quickly, word of the Republican's 9-point lead over Strickland spread among the thousands who saw those tweets. In other words - this was big.

So, beyond the obvious good news, what do the numbers mean?

1) The Topline
With 48%, Kasich fell just short of the magic 50% that every candidate wants to achieve in a poll. Once you've hit that 50, you know you're in very good shape. Close, but not quite.

But it was Strickland hitting only 39% that drew the biggest gasp from me.


That's just plain awful and shows that Strickland has an extremely long way to go to regain the trust of Ohioans.

2) The Age Groups
The only major change from the last Rasmussen poll in September was among older Ohioans. Kasich saw a 21-point turnaround among 50-64 year olds and a 26-point turnaround among the 65+ age group. Can we thank Obamacare and Strickland support thereof for this? Most likely.

3) Party ID
Despite the constant negativity and attacks coming from the Ohio Dems, Kasich only became stronger among Republicans and Independents. Among Indies, Kasich went from +14 to +25. With GOPers he went from 81 to 88 support.

Compare that support from the base to that of Strickland. The Governor receives just barely over 2/3 of Democrats' support - 69%. That's down from 80% just two months ago. As I've been mentioning since Quinnipiac started coming out with polls in July, Strickland's extremely weak support among his base will be the most important challenge of his to overcome. Unless he turns these numbers around to something closer to Kasich's mid-to-high 80s, Strickland will simply not be able to win.

So who are these Democrat voters supporting?

John Kasich. Nearly 1/5 of Ohio's Democrats currently support the Republican. It seems our presumptive nominee may have his own version of Reagan Democrats - Kasich Democrats.

Now, don't count on these numbers sticking. But this small group is fun to enjoy while we can. Either way, at worst we can assume these Kasich Democrats will have relatively little incentive to go vote at all, let alone for Strickland.

4) Name ID
Kasich still suffers from lagging name ID. Clearly, that doesn't seem to matter. Despite 31% of the electorate not knowing enough about him to have an opinion, they still have no problem supporting him. Not surprisingly, Independents are the least likely to know Kasich, with only 60% having an opinion of him. But it's Independents who will be most open to the Republican candidate's campaign narrative - a proven fiscal problem solver here to clean up the mess. And it's also where Democrats will try to attack. Despite their current offensive tactic seemingly blowing up in their faces so far, they don't have much of anything else to use for ammo.

5) My Favorite Stat
In September, Kasich has only a -4 net favorability among Democrats. As of this new poll, that's down to -3.

34% approve - 37% disapprove.

For comparison's sake, Strickland's approval among Republicans is -57 and -20 among Independents. Think about that for a second - Kasich's favorability among Democrats is nearly 7 times greater than Strickland's among unaffiliated voters.

6) Conclusion
Ultimately, there is nothing within these numbers that would cheer me up if I was sitting in a cubicle at the ODP. I'd know my organization's line of attack wasn't working. I'd know the leader of my Party can't inspire 1/3 of Democrats to vote for him. And I'd know Kasich hasn't even started his offensive yet. On top of it all, I'd know my Governor has yet to even announce his candidacy while Kasich already has his entire grassroots organization in place.

If I was sitting in my cubicle at the ODP, I'd be depressed.

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