The latest poll from Quinnipiac had John Kasich winning Independents by 5 points. Independents accounted for 33% of the vote.
The latest poll from Rasmussen had Kasich winning Independents by 4 points.
The PPP poll from March had Kasich winning Independents by 24.
In the 2008 CNN Exit Poll, 30% of Ohio's electorate was made up of Independents.
Why do all these points matter?
In the latest Ohio Poll showing John Kasich behind by five, Ted Strickland is up 14 points among Independents in a sample of Independents that is, at best, 12% of the total test size.
In other words, the Party ID make-up for the poll is an outlier from all other public polls. Could it be that the Ohio Poll is right and Independents only make up 12% of Ohio's population? I guess. But I doubt it.
But back to the overall numbers.
First of all, the Ohio Poll was taken well after the first Strickland attack ad had enjoyed serious play in the field and before the RGA's response ad. That means it was testing a population that had only seen Strickland's ad blasting Kasich.
The result? It seemed to be somewhat successful. Strickland helped shore up his base and improved his approval rating.
And yet, with a 49-44 lead, he still isn't at 50%.
Additionally, with the number one issue in voters minds, the economy, Strickland still sits at an incredibly vulnerable 46-46.
What's it all mean? Yes, Strickland improved his numbers. But Ted supporters can't get too enthusiastic just yet. We've yet to see any numbers that include a substantive blast against Strickland. The RGA's ad was solid, but it was only a $250k buy - barely half of what Strickland spent on his attack ad - and it wasn't seen until after this poll was completed. And Ted's numbers on the economy and inability to hit 50% shows Strickland's vulnerability.
All in all, it should have been worse than five points.
Now what about Fisher/Portman?
That's even more amazing.
Fisher, despite running in a high profile race and spending well over one million dollars on paid media, is only up one point against a guy who hasn't run one ad.
In Northeast Ohio, Fisher's base and where much effort was focused in the primary, the Democrat is only up three. How is that possible?
In addition, Fisher having run statewide approximately 47 times should have given him the serious advantage over Portman.
But it didn't.
Fisher is tied when he has every reason to be ahead.
That says a lot for the quiet effectiveness with which Portman is running his campaign. He's doing what he needs to do and he's doing it well. Like Kasich, once he starts spending some of his cash, look for Portman to take a lead.
One last point on the poll itself. I was surprised they didn't include questions on Kasich and Portman's own approval numbers to gauge their own situation and determine just how low their name ID was at this point. Increased name ID means votes. As Portman and Kasich's increases, which it exponentially will over the next five months, it will have an effect on their numbers.
Another round of Rasmussen and Quinnipiac is due soon. I'll keep you posted!