Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reviewing the basics of The Ohio Poll in the Governor's Race

As you all know by now, I like to follow the recommendation of the big name polling analysts and consider poll aggregates to determine where a race stands.

But for the fun of it, let's ignore that advice and focus solely on the Ohio Poll that was released last night.

As we mentioned yesterday, of all polls taken of the Ohio Governor's race in the past year and a half, the Ohio Poll has shown the largest amount of support for Ted Strickland. During that time, The Ohio Poll also joined Quinnipiac as the only poll to show Ted Strickland leading the race. The difference? Quinnipiac never had support for Strickland above 44%. The Ohio Poll was the outlier with two of their three polls in the past year and a half showing Strickland with 48 and 49% support.

But outliers aside, The Ohio Poll has earned its reputation as a top tier poll and must be respected.

So let's get to it.

Their most recent poll from the end of May had Ted Strickland ahead 49-44 on John Kasich.

Back then, Kasich wasn't well known and between the two campaigns we had only seen attack ads from Strickland.

Well, with the results from last night you can consider those results flipped.

John Kasich is now ahead 49-45 - A net turnaround of 9 points.

The 45% support for Strickland is particularly significant. Being below 50% for an incumbent is bad news. At 45%, even moreso.

Or as the brains behind The Ohio Poll puts it:
"Gov. Strickland would probably be pleased to be behind by only four percent after some of the polls that showed him much farther behind,'' Rademacher said. "But, the fact is, for an incumbent governor, it's a little bit late in the year to be under 50 percent support."
The fact is this - no poll since the May Ohio Poll has shown Strickland over 45%. He's flatlined. Or, in the case of The Ohio Poll, gotten worse.

To make matters worse for the Governor, we learn that Strickland's supporters are softer than Kasich's.
Rademacher pointed to another line in the poll that is not particularly good for Strickland - 55 percent of those who said they support him now say they could change their minds, while only 45 percent of Kasich's supporters said they might switches horses midstream.

"Kasich's support seems solid; Strickland's, a little more soft,'' Rademacher said.
That's very bad news for someone who desperately needs to change people's minds in a very short amount of time.

But it gets even worse for Ted Strickland. And it surrounds something that's been the story of the year so far in elections nationwide - enthusiasm.
Among Republicans, 86 percent said they are "extremely" or "very" interested in the campaign, while, along Democrats, the number drops to 65 percent.

"The interest seems to be on the Republican side,'' Rademacher said. "There's no question that the numbers show the potential for a big Republican year in Ohio."

A 21% enthusiasm gap among Likely Voters? Are you kidding me?

That's even larger than what we're seeing in the national Gallup polls.

Being down four in a poll may seem nice if you're a Democrat, but it means jacksquat if you can't get Democrats to actually go and vote. And there's the rub. Strickland hasn't given Democrats, or anyone for that matter, a reason to motivate. He's relied on the status quo to get him re-elected. And in times as bad as they are now, that just doesn't fly.

What else does that enthusiasm gap show? That the obsessive Wall Street and Free Trade attacks haven't worked against Kasich. Despite all their efforts to depress Republicans about their candidate and tick off Democrats about their opponent, Republicans are shockingly enthusiastic to go vote while Democrats are down.

What else could be effecting the enthusiasm gap? The failure of Lee Fisher's candidacy. Without being able to spend anything on commercials and getting zero help from the DSCC, Democrats have resigned to losing Ohio's Senate seat to Rob Portman. And throwing up a white flag already on what should be a high profile Senate race hasn't, and won't invigorate the average Democratic voter.

Ultimately, this poll will show Kasich's lead in aggregate polling to have decreased. Do I wish the lead was larger? Of course!

But so what?

He's still leading. His support is far more solid than Strickland's. And voter enthusiasm greatly outweighs the opposition.

The funny part? This poll will actually give Democrats some hope. They'll cling to it until the next Ohio Poll comes out. All others will mean nothing. The bad news? They'll be clinging to a poll whose very administrator seems quite pessimistic that Strickland can improve his numbers. They'll be clinging to a poll that once again reinforces Strickland's inability to poll higher than 45%.

The Governor's support has flatlined. And so has his campaign.


  1. Um, 65% of Democrats are enthusased about this elections, chuckles. That's hardly evidence that Democrats aren't motivated and won't vote. You read too much into the numbers.

    Kasich has lost his lead with Independents... a trend Rasmussen has been showing.

    You've apparently not listening when poll readers taught you about aggregates. Looking at the aggregate doesn't mean you just take all the polling data and average it out and that's the race.

    You look at the mean and median of that aggregate data so you can see who the outliers are. That results in Quinnipiac, Dispatch, and SurveyUSA as being identified, clearly, as outliers who should not be trusted.

    Yet, even your own "aggregate" theory disproves that Strickand's support has flatlined because you admit that aggregate has been closing for weeks.

    Strickland just started his positive ads roughly two weeks ago. The one he released this week is, I think, the best ad in the race. But you can spin it all you want, but every headline in every Sunday paper today was that this race is tight and Strickland is closing.

  2. Modern, even if you take out the polling you don't like (SUSA, Quinnipiac, and Dispatch) and only look at September's results, Strickland is still down by more than 6 points ( doesn't have the new Ohio Poll results yet, which will probably drop it to just under 6 points).

    I do think the recent Quinnipiac result is an outlier, but both SUSA and Quinnipiac were the most accurate state level pollsters in the last two election cycles in Ohio. PPP has been extremely, extremely accurate this cycle and is the new polling firm for DailyKos, who is desperate to restore credibility after their recent polling vendor blunder.

    Strickland is not down 17 points, or even 12 points. He's probably down somewhere around 8-9 points. Is that winnable with GOTV and messaging over the next 5 weeks? Maybe. GOTV can generally account for 2-3 points in statewide races in Ohio, Obama's GOTV probably accounted for 4-5 points in 2008. Obama's GOTV was the most advanced program in election history in the world. ODP and OFA's GOTV plan is not remotely as well funded or logistically robust as 2008, and ORP and other allied groups have made evolutionary leaps in their plans. The GOTV disparity will not be remotely close to 2008, and may not exist at all.

  3. Strickland is down 4-7 points. That's where the majority of the polling is. That's where both the campaigns' internally polling show them.

    And it's closing... fast.

    Strickland is now split with independents. Kasich once had a 2:1 advantage.

    Only 5% of likely voters blame Strickland for the economic condition. More people said the generic "someone else" or "Didn't Know" than him. That's after MILLIONS in advertisements by the RGA to blame Strickland for the economy and now the Kasich campaign as well.

    Just look in the shift in the ad tones for each campaign. Kasich went negative as Strickland went positive. That plus the Ohio Poll tells you where this race is heading.

    It's going to be very close.

  4. I cannot wait until the RGA drops a few huge bombs and I also cannot wait to see the DGA try to compete.

  5. Um, the RGA has dropped their bombs. They've spent millions in advertising all summer blaming Strickland for the economy. Now a whopping 5% of likely voters blame him for the economy... which is virtually no movement since the last poll asked that question.

    The RGA isn't getting the jobs done.

  6. Keeling, the Ohio Poll is pro-Strickland? Except of course in January when it showed Kasich ahead by six.

    And you failed to mention at the time that the Ohio Poll and Quinnipiac were "the only polls at the time showing Strickland ahead" that the only other poll out at that time was Rasmussen--and that the Ohio Poll's May results for Strickland's support was within the margin of error of Rasmussen at the time.

    In other words, everything you wrote in this post is so misleading you have to assume that you hoped nobody would actually go back and look at the data to see how deliberately you are lying here.

    Getting nervous, huh?

  7. November 3rd, after Kasich wins by 8 points

    Ha! See Keeling, you idiot? There was never a double digit lead!! You're pathetic. LIAR!!


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