Friday, January 29, 2010

Breaking it Down: The 1/24 Ohio News Poll

I’m a few days late in reviewing the Ohio News Poll that was first released in the Dayton Daily News last weekend, but I wanted to wait until I could take a closer look at the demographic crosstabs that were released later this past week.

As we all know, Kasich has a six point lead in the poll, but as we like to do here on 3BP, it’s important to look deeper into the numbers.

The first question asked in the poll is actually just as important as asking for whom people will vote.

It gauges voter enthusiasm. In other words, how likely are Ohioans to actually go vote on 11.2.10?

20% of Democrats and Indies said they were “extremely interested” in voting.

Republicans came in at almost double that, at 37%.

If that margin stays put, Kasich wins. Hands down.

Breaking it down even further, answers from the age groups are particularly interesting. 6% of 18-29 year olds are “extremely interested, 30-45 are at 22%, and 46-54 and 65 and over are at 31% and 32%, respectively.

Now compare that answer with who those subgroups prefer for Governor,

Among 18-29s, Strickland is up 16, but among the other age groups, Kasich is up by 9 on average.

In other words, the only age group that prefers Strickland is the least likely to go vote in November, by far.

Strickland wins African-Americans with by a whopping 88 point margin, which makes you wonder why the Governor is the first to point out his LG’s ethnicity when asked about her ability to serve. After all, he has that vote wrapped up.

Geographical breakdown is about what you’d expect, except in NW Ohio where Kasich is up 53-41. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll late last year, Strickland was up in the same region 47-23.

Economic issues dominated the ‘most important issue’ category, with Economy, Balanced Budget, and Taxes taking the top three spots among 66% of all voters. Considering the state of the economy, that’s not exactly good news for the Governor.

Now pair this with how voters react in judging their approval of the Governor on the whole, and judging his handling of the economy. Disapproval among Democrats jumped 9 points, among Independents it jumped 12, and 9 among Republicans.

As Ohio AG Cordray said yesterday, it’s important to judge a candidate on their record of accomplishment. Now, we all can imagine how bad the answers are for Strickland when the question is asked of whether people are better or worse off than they were four years ago. In fact, only 9% of responders said they were better off.

But the question that drew my interest even more was gauging the voters’ optimism about whether they will be better off a year from now. If, in fact, voters believed Ted Strickland could live up to his promise of Turning Around Ohio, then these numbers should look pretty decent.

Not so much.

Only 19% of Ohioans think they will be better off. Most voters feel they will be worse off or just the same. Considering only 9% said they were better off than they were four years ago, that’s bad news for the incumbent.

The feeling of pessimism is confirmed with only ¼ of Ohioans believing economic conditions are getting better in their state overall.

An interesting question to wrap up the poll asked “who do you blame” for the economic mess. In an answer that is sure to encourage Democrats to continue their attempts to convince Ohioans that Kasich = Wall Street, “Wall Street and Financial Institutions” came in at 23%. But as I’ve reiterated before, it’s one heck of a leap in logic for voters to buy that Kasich was responsible in any way, shape, or form for the financial disaster. Additionally, it will be expensive to spend the kind of money necessary to force that identity onto Kasich, especially when you consider the media’s refusal to buy-in to the Dem efforts.

In the same question, Strickland only comes in at 3%. So, despite so few blaming Strickland for their personal financial troubles, Ohio voters still prefer John Kasich.

I wonder what happens when that 3% creeps up to even just 10% with a few dollars spent on commercials informing voters of how the Governor sat back and did nothing in the face of the crisis.

That 6% lead has room to grow. And it will.

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