Thursday, November 4, 2010

That'll show ya.

Over the past few months, a lot of you have come to 3BP in search of a better understanding of the polls that covered the Senate and Governor's races in Ohio.

While I had problems with certain polls and how they may have been conducted, there was always one constant - I told you to look at the average of all polls to see where the race really stands.

So, how did that turn out? Well, let's take a look at the final Real Clear Politics poll averages...

The RCP average was 0.2% off the final tally.

Not bad at all.

So what about how each candidate did by Party?

There was some worry near the end that the obsessive focus on Strickland's NRA endorsement was going to change the course of the race.

Turns out that wasn't the case. Republicans still solidly backed Kasich.

I also repeatedly warned that bringing the President to Ohio so many times when he was so incredibly unpopular among Independents could damage Strickland's chances. And ultimately, it showed that Strickland was sacrificing Independents in order to boost his standing among his base.

Considering the partisan breakdown in the CNN exit poll of 3,300 respondents, it looks like I was right.

Kasich won Independents by 16 points. Impressive.

And how important was that enthusiasm gap? Well, Chairman Redfern wanted us to believe that even if it was real, the Democrat ground game was vastly superior and would win the day.

It didn't.

From the Dispatch:
Pre-election predictions by Democratic officials that their expensive get-out-the-vote machine would overcome an "enthusiasm gap" were rendered empty boasts by a profound lack of interest among their voters in the midterm elections, particularly in urban counties where the party needed a big turnout.

Less than 48 percent of registered voters cast ballots, the worst participation in a statewide election since 2002. And the 10 counties - including Franklin County - that had the largest decline in total votes Tuesday from the 2006 election account for 57 percent of Ohio's registered Democrats.

The sparse turnout doomed Gov. Ted Strickland's chances of re-election against Republican John Kasich, the first winning gubernatorial candidate since 1978 to fail to get at least 50 percent of the vote.

Over the course of the campaign I repeatedly stated how the Governor's incredibly low approval ratings were going to doom his cause. I said polls that showed Democrats not liking the direction Ohio was heading weren't going to show up. Obama may have rallied the far left portions of the base to vote for Ted, but the machine sputtered out.

So, what does all this show?
  1. Listen to all polls - even ones you don't like - in order to gauge the state of a race.
  2. Independents matter.
  3. Tearing down an opponent doesn't work if you aren't able to sell a good brand at the same time.

I'll likely have more post-mortems as we move forward.

Maybe after the glow of victory finally wears off.

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