Since May 4th, Ted Strickland and his allies have saturated Ohio's airwaves with blistering attacks against John Kasich. The ads have focused primarily on Kasich's association with Lehman Brothers and Wall Street.
Below are the aggregate poll numbers between April 1st 'til present day from pollster.com. They highlight the difference the Strickland ads have made in the race while Kasich held back and gauged their effect:
As is very clear, the massive spending in attacks barely moved the needle in overall poll numbers and actually worsened Strickland's job approval numbers.
Well, when ads from the left's perspective have as poor an effect as these, it makes perfect sense to embrace the meme set by the Strickland campaign, but from the John Kasich perspective. By doing so, it provides Kasich's own positive angle while utilizing the story that has damaged their opponent's own approval ratings.
Which gives you...
He hits on jobs.
He calls out the Lehman attack.
He talks about his record.
He hits on jobs again.
And unlike Ted Strickland, he's not afraid to actually appear in his own commercial.
All these hits are the kind that can move numbers.
There is actually a bit of a case study in this type of tactic from a race I know particularly well - last year's Virginia Governor's race.
In it, Democrats went hard on the attack against Bob McDonnell for statements they considered sexist in a thesis back when the now-Governor was in grad school.
It was the story of the race for weeks. Here's an example:
McDonnell's team discovered the attacks weren't really moving the needle. So what did they do? They furthered the story with an ad featuring McDonnell's daughter that was clearly intended to face those charges head on:
The ad enhanced the story and increased the Democratic opponent's negatives. McDonnell never looked back.
And the same tactic can work for Kasich.