Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quinnipiac gets fishy.

It looks like my suspicions of the Party ID sample in the latest Ohio Quinnipiac poll were correct.

After poring through the numbers and some correspondence with the folks at Quinnipiac, I found that the Party ID numbers they used for today's poll were significantly different from that of their last poll.

February's poll broke out this way: 27% GOP, 30% Dem, and 37% Independent, with the rest answering with another Party or No Answer.

But today's poll broke out these Party ID numbers: 24% GOP, 33% Dem, 35% Independent, along with the rest being another Party or No Answer.

So Quinnipiac went from a 3% margin between Parties to 9%. On top of that, the Independents that had consistently been trending R, also shrunk by 2%.

Fortunately, this story has gone national of sorts, reaching the National Review's Campaign Spot.

Jim Geraghty points out an important data point to consider when looking at this new Party ID spread:
That 33/24 split among Democrats and Republicans really stands out, as the 2008 exit poll put the split in Ohio at 39 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican. In other words, does Quinnipiac really think that the makeup of the electorate will be better for Democrats on Election Day than it was in 2008?
That's an incredibly important point to make.

Additionally, the two polls this year that publicly highlighted Party ID showed things to be far closer. PPP has it broken out as 42% Dem, 39% GOP, and 19% Indie/Other. The Ohio Poll actually had the Party ID broken out favoring Republicans, with approx. 49% GOP, 40% Dem, and 10% Independent.

Considering the political environment this year, an average of the two seems far more likely to be accurate than a Party ID sampling that shows a large Democrat advantage than the Year of Obama.

The fact is this:

Party ID when conducting a poll matters. The details matter. If the sampling doesn't accurately reflect the makeup of the electorate, you have a poll that illegitimately accentuates the numbers for one candidate or another.

Fortunately, this sampling was sniffed out. And it's actually surprising to hear since Quinnipiac has done a reasonably good job in the past of providing an accurate reflection of the electorate.

It just highlights how important it is not to take one poll as an accurate representation of the entire race. To do that, you need to consider an entire amalgamation of polls to gauge the overall trends.

We'll chat a little more about that tomorrow on 3BP....

Breaking it Down: The 3/31 Quinnipiac Ohio Poll

First things first.

Would I prefer Kasich and Portman be ahead in the most recent Quinnipiac poll? Of course.

Do their deficits in this poll make me worried? Not one bit.

A couple things to note before we get to the analysis...

1) this poll was done during the week Obama enjoyed some fantastic press off the passage of health care reform. Understandably, that should have provided a bit of the bump that I predicted yesterday and that the Dispatch discusses today in their analysis. Fortunately, that coverage has since dissipated and as I mentioned this morning, Gallup's HCR polling that was done halfway through Quinny's testing showed numbers turning bad again.

2) The sample. With Quinnipiac, it's always the sample. Registered voters instead of likely voters. As we all know, sampling registered over likely voters provides a result skewed to the left. Eventually, Quinnipiac will go to the likely voter model (probably in June). From what I understand, they determine likely voters based on their voting history. In other words, in a way that they could just as easily do now. So why not keep a consistent sample? This isn't a rhetorical question. I honestly don't understand why they change the sample in the middle of the election season. Logic would presume you'd want to maintain some consistency to better gauge the transformation of the electorate.

3) Party ID in the sample. There are some sketchy things that make me wonder about oversampling of Democrats, but I'll get to that later.

But enough blabbering, ultimately we have to work with the hand we're dealt, so let's get to the numbers...

The Topline
First off, Kasich is down five. The same deficit he faced in the last Quinnipiac Poll. Interesting that despite the HC bump, Strickland didn't seem to substantively benefit.

The differences? Kasich has gone from tied among Independents last month to up by 4. Meanwhile, the R and D numbers saw a minor 2 point flip in each direction.

Unfortunately for Portman, he saw a bit of a turnaround in his numbers, facing a 7 point swing in favor of Fisher. Strangely, his numbers by Party barely showed any variation from the previous month. -1 among Rs. Same among Ds. And -2 among Indies(though still +10 for Portman). For obvious reasons, that made me question the sampling of the poll and whether it skewed a little heavier towards Democrats. I've put in an inquiry with Quinnipiac to find out the Party ID sampling, and if I get any response I'll post it in an update. [UPDATE: My suspicions were correct. Click here for the update.]

Name ID
Kasich's favorability numbers showed a small increase while his disapproval numbers stayed at a mere 10%. To no surprise, Kasich is still unknown to almost 2/3 of registered voters. For comparison, in Rasmussen's sample of likely voters Kasich's name ID is unknown to just 24%. Why is that significant?

For that, look at the topline numbers by region. In central Ohio, where Kasich is best known, he's up by 12. And don't think that means the central OH sample is skewed right. Portman is down by 1 to Fisher and up by 1 to Brunner in the same region. That means the more voters know Kasich, the more likely they are to vote for him over Strickland.

Meanwhile, the Governor that has had 3 and a half years to woo Ohio, still has an underwater favorability rating of 46%.

In the Senate race, Ohio's Lieutenant Governor...the guy who has been on the statewide ballot approximately 47 times, Lee Fisher, has nearly the same number of people as John Kasich who have no idea who he is - 60%. His favorability numbers are still decent among those who do know him, which in actuality is great news for Portman.

As Ohio's Jobs Czar, Fisher will be particularly susceptible to paid media highlighting the results of his tenure at the Department of Development...and it won't be pretty.

Portman's numbers are still very solid. While still unknown, he sits at 25-8 favorability and an amazing 28-4 among Independents. Clearly, Fisher will try to attach him to the previous Administration. And as we've said before, it won't work.

The Parties
Independents, the ones that matter, have disapproval of the GOP at 46 and the Dems at 53. But what about the Tea Party?


Additionally, the the Tea Party has a +4 favorability rating. The GOP and Dems are both in the negative.

Still want to keep knocking the Tea Party, Dems?

Here's the health care bounce. Obama went from -8 to -1 in job approval, sitting at 47-48. Of course, that bounce still has him in the negative and underwater. I'll be very curious to see how this number changes in a month.

But the most fun question asked whether Ohioans would like to see the next Senator support or oppose the President. Oppose won by 2 overall and Independents went for oppose by 52-36. Ouch. Clearly, that's good news for Portman.

Health Care
Obama went from 58-34 disapproval on health care to 51-41 disapproval. A gain of 14 points. Once again, remember when this poll began testing? Right after passage of HCR when coverage was glowing. Since then, Gallup's polling over the weekend showed the national mood receding once again. And coverage has also been highly negative, so much so that Obama is now trying to distract from it with tales of drilling for oil off the coast of Virginia. [cough] sofullofcrap [cough]

Another interesting question in the poll asked if voters would be more or less likely to vote for a member of congress that supported Obamacare. 38-25 said less likely. Among Independents that number spiked to 41-19. Impressive.

But the most intriguing question was this, "If you agreed with a candidate for Congress on other issues, but completely disagreed on the issue of health care reform, do you think you could still vote for that candidate or not?"

Independents are the most intriguing folks to answer this question, and 39% of them said no. Combine that with the 41-19 number and you have a lot of Independents who will vote against Democrats come November, no matter what.

The Referendum
We've been saying it for a year now. And pollsters like Quinnipiac's Peter Brown agree. The Governor's race will be a referendum. The answers in this poll once again reinforce that the electorate isn't happy. As Brown says:
The bad news is there is a long way to go until November and on virtually all measures he receives below 50 percent support and with no movement - typically worrisome signs for an incumbent
So what are those measures?

61-38 are dissatisfied with the way things are going in Ohio.
41-36 don't believe Strickland kept his promises. (wait til they are reminded in commercials about his Turnaround Ohio pledge)
52-35 disapprove of the way Strickland is handling the most important issue in Ohio - the economy.
47-37 disapprove of the way Strickland is handling the budget. (wait til they are reminded Strickland led us into an $8 billion hole)

This is pretty simple, and nothing we haven't heard before. The opportunity to take advantage of the referendum on Strickland and Fisher is there. Both Kasich and Portman need to improve their name recognition if they want to improve their numbers. The question is when do you buy the ads necessary to do so. Voters clearly aren't quite paying attention yet.

I imagine both campaigns will be doing their own internal polling to determine the right time to hit before voters start hardening their decision on their choice for Governor and Senator. Until then, patience is a virtue.

In other news.... looks like the polar ice caps are growing.

Just sayin'.

It could be nothing. It could be something.

A poll released yesterday by Democratic polling firm PPP included some interesting data.

Specifically, it was the favoribility numbers for Senate candidates Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan.

As you can see, both candidates, Blunt the Republican and Carnahan the Democratic incumbent, have pretty poor numbers.

Blunt comes in at 25-41 overall, with 27-41 among Independents. Carnahan scores better overall at 38-43, but is relatively even with Indies at 31-48.

Now, if you were looking just at these numbers alone, it would be a reasonably safe guess to assume Carnahan was ahead in the purple state that is Missouri.

Wrong. Blunt is up 45-41.

So even with massive problems finding approval among the electorate, the political environment is turning in favor of Blunt.

A Republican sits at -16 disapproval overall and -14 among Indies.....and is a poll conducted by a Democratic firm.

That has to frighten Democrats.

Those Gallup health care numbers...

There were some new numbers from Gallup the past couple days that highlight just how troubling Americans find Obamacare.

First off, the big one...

65% of Americans believe Obamacare will expand the government's role too much.

That's 2/3 of Americans thinking the Democrats went too far. Astounding.

Nearly as many, 64% say it will cost too much.

The scary part for Democrats? The sample was of adults, not likely or even registered voters. As my readers should well understand by now, that means the results are particularly skewed to the left.

But to add insult to injury, Gallup also found that 75% of Americans don't believe Obamacare will improve their own health care.

So what does it all mean? Put them together and you have Americans feeling the Democrats have damaged the national economy, and for little to no personal gain in their own lives.

Maybe that's why even the CNN(!) generic congressional ballot shows Republicans up by four in the survey they released yesterday.

This is your baby, so how do you plan to take care of it?

That's the kind of question that needs to be asked of Mary Jo Kilroy, Steve Driehaus, John Boccieri, and all Ohio Democrats in, or seeking, a seat in Congress.

I'll leave it to the brilliant Charles Krauthammer to explain why...
We are now $8 trillion in debt. The Congressional Budget Office projects that another $12 trillion will be added over the next decade. Obamacare, when stripped of its budgetary gimmicks — the unfunded $200 billion-plus doctor fix, the double counting of Medicare cuts, the 10-6 sleight-of-hand (counting 10 years of revenue and only 6 years of outflows) — is at minimum a $2 trillion new entitlement.


That's where the value-added tax comes in. For the politician, it has the virtue of expediency: People are used to sales taxes, and this one produces a river of revenue. Every 1 percent of VAT would yield up to $1trillion a decade.

It's the ultimate cash cow. Obama will need it. By introducing universal health care, he has pulled off the largest expansion of the welfare state in four decades. And the most expensive. Which is why all of the European Union has the VAT. Huge VATs. Germany: 19 percent. France and Italy: 20 percent. Most of Scandinavia: 25 percent.

American liberals have long complained that ours is the only advanced industrial country without universal health care. Well, now we shall have it. And as we approach European levels of entitlements, we will need European levels of taxation.


Obama's strategy is [...]: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.
Now that we're a couple weeks removed from the Obamacare vote and the media has come to understand exactly what it means for spending, as outlined by Krauthammer above, it's the responsibility of the fourth estate, and all Americans, to find out how our Representatives plan to pay for it.

With the President's deficit reduction commission not providing any results of their work until after November, the time is now to begin asking those who gave us this law whether they will continue to follow the European model or not. And if not, what is their alternative?

Because claiming Obamacare pays for itself is laughable. And 61% of Americans agree that Obamacare will worsen the deficit .

That means they deserve an answer as to how it will be managed. And they deserve that answer before they pull the lever in November.

If I'm going down, I'm taking y'all with me.

Or so I imagine that's what was running through Jennifer Brunner's head during her endorsement interview in front of the Youngstown Vindicator's editorial board.

The highlight of the story that appeared yesterday on the Vindicator website was the following quote from Ohio's Secretary of State and Senatorial hopeful:
“When I was running for secretary of state [in 2006] I didn’t have problems raising money,” she said. “But when you’re in a primary right after a huge recession and you’ve got someone on the other side [Fisher] who’s been raising money for 30 years and quit his job as director of development and has the time on his hands to make the negative calls to shut down your funding, yeah, it’s tough. Somebody shouldn’t win that way.”
It's one thing to believe your opponent is working the system against you, it's something completely different to publicly accuse the Lieutenant Governor of such.

Apparently Brunner is so upset at the Democratic establishment that she figures if she's going down, she's gonna try to bring the whole Party down with her.

It screams of desperation. And you can't blame her.

She's right. The ODP has worked to ensure Brunner doesn't get the funding she needs to run a credible race. And because of that, her only hope is to create enough earned media opportunities that she can build up some kind of following.

So what can we expect? Brunner to speak with even more fireworks and do whatever she can to create an "us vs. the world, everyone loves the underdog, hey look at me" kinda campaign.

Will it work? No.

But it sure will be fun to watch.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

That's quite a hole you've got there.

Liberals like to say Bush was just as guilty of deficit spending as the President Obama.

While no conservative is happy with W's spending habits, we all know the truth about how Obama's spending compares to 43, and this cartoon gets the point across.

Quinny Poll: Brunner is toast. But Fisher will come away crippled.

Back in December I wrote a post detailing why I was happy Jennifer Brunner was not going to be the nominee chosen by Ohio Democrats.

Since then, Brunner has been dealt setback after setback.

And the latest poll from Quinnipiac serves as the 798th nail in the coffin of Jennifer Brunner's senatorial campaign.

Quinnipiac's poll sampled likely, not registered voters, for the upcoming Democratic Senate primary in Ohio. This provides a much more accurate depiction of the electorate and how things will go down in May.

As of right now, Fisher is up 33-26 on the Progressives favorite candidate.

Amazingly, Fisher is found to be more liberal, more trusting, and more likely to share the values of Democratic primary voters. So much for the effectiveness of Brunner's total reliance on social media as a campaign strategy.

And while a large chunk of voters say their decision isn't firm, it still highlights what we've been saying for months as the main problem for Brunner. She is down in the polls and thanks to her money situation, she has no medium to communicate her message to a large group of people and improve her situation.

Peter Brown from Quinnipiac says so himself:
"With so many voters lacking so much information with so little time to go until the voting, the election is going to be decided by which of the two does a better job reaching this big group of voters who don't think they know enough at this point to make a choice," Brown said. "Given how campaigns work, the candidate with the biggest and best television campaign is most likely to prevail."
But the large chunk of unsure voters puts Fisher in a difficult predicament. He still needs to spend money to solidify his lead. But does he have it?

An analysis of his last campaign finance report showed him in a slightly tougher financial bind than he has let on.

If you look at the individual and PAC contributions, then subtract the maximum limit from each, you come up with $615,195 that can’t be spent in the primary. In other words, many individuals and PACs have already given their max on the primary, and the surplus (up to the maximum allowed to be contributed) must go to the general.

That means as of the last report, Fisher only has about 700k to spend on a substantive amount of statewide TV. That will buy you maybe two weeks. Hardly enough for a crushing blow.

In the meantime, Brunner hasn't raised enough to get her a meeting with the sales department at the local public access station in Dayton.

Now obviously Fisher has continued to raise general money through the 1st quarter of this year, but whatever he reports won’t be the full amount he can spend for the primary.

Sure, it will be enough to separate himself from Brunner at the last minute, but it will leave Fisher severely crippled for the general election race against Portman.

The Ultimate Guide to Obama's Broken Promises

Jim Geraghty over at NRO's Campaign Spot has done a great job highlighting how Obama's promises each come with an expiration date.

After the President's most recent violation, Geraghty put together a compilation of each and every one.

This is a fantastic resource for muting the Sheeple still muttering "hope & change" under their breath. And if it's your kinda thing, I'd even recommend posting the link to the article on your facebook or twitter account.

In the meantime, here are a couple highlights:


STATEMENT: “We've got a philosophical difference, which we've debated repeatedly, and that is that Senator Clinton believes the only way to achieve universal health care is to force everybody to purchase it. And my belief is, the reason that people don't have it is not because they don't want it but because they can't afford it.” Barack Obama, speaking at a Democratic presidential debate, February 21, 2008.

EXPIRATION DATE: On March 23, 2010, Obama signed the individual mandate into law.


STATEMENT: “These negotiations will be on C-SPAN, and so the public will be part of the conversation and will see the decisions that are being made.” January 20, 2008, and seven other times.

EXPIRATION DATE: Throughout the summer, fall, and winter of 2009 and 2010; when John McCain asked about it during the health care summit February 26, Obama dismissed the issue by declaring, “the campaign is over, John.”

Don't push it, Lee.

Lee Fisher recently sent out a fundraising e-mail where he went a little far in detailing why the Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed him over Jennifer Brunner.

Here is a screencap of a portion of the letter along with the highlighted statement in question:

And here is a link to the PD's endorsement of Fisher.

If anyone can find the portion that compliments the Lieutenant Governor for "his tireless work to save and create jobs throughout Ohio", or anything even close to that, I beg them to please leave a comment.

I won't hold my breath.

Health Care premiums will increase says guy in charge of Health Care premiums...

From Byron York:
Many, many times during the health care debate, President Obama promised the American people that if they have insurance and they are happy with it, then it would not change under the Democrats' national health care proposal. "Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year," Obama promised on his transition website before assuming office. Once in the White House, he repeated that promise over and over and over.

State Representative Edna Brown (D-Toledo), welcome to the Republican Party.

Rep. Brown, in all of her wisdom, finally figured something out that has perplexed Democrats for years.

Increasing taxes hurts businesses and increases unemployment.
State Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo) on Monday urged Toledo City Council to reject the proposal to create an 8-percent tax on entertainment.


She said the tax would hurt the entertainment, cultural, and sports venues that create jobs downtown and attract business to the city. She said most of the outlets are in her House district, the 48th.

"In my opinion, attendance will decrease. Employment will decrease, which will increase unemployment. The city council and the mayor can certainly find another way to balance the budget," Ms. Brown said.
I couldn't have said it any better myself, Edna.

Now if only she told Governor Strickland that when he decided to raise taxes this year.

How much does Strickland's office hate e-mail right now?

First we have the Troopergate e-mails between Chief Counsel Kent Markus and Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor that show, to put it lightly, very suspicious meddling in a criminal case.

And now, more e-mails confirming involvement of the Governor's office in using Ohio taxpayer dollars to create a job in order to clear out a Democratic primary.

From the Cincy Enquirer:
E-mails between the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and a top lawyer in Gov. Ted Strickland’s office indicate the governor’s staff was more active in helping Cincinnati Councilwoman Laketa Cole land a high-paying state job than previously reported – a move that averted a Democratic primary the party wanted to avoid.

For instance, a Feb. 4. e-mail from Christine Emch Thompson, deputy legal counsel in the governor’s office, sent to PUCO and three other state agencies, read: “I am interested to know if you have anything in your agency around 70-80 k range based on the attached (Cole) resume?”

In a March 1 e-mail – four days before the deadline for Cole to get out of the primary – Thompson persisted: “Any word back on this?” Thompson wrote to Kathleen C. Madden, an administrator with the Department of Administrative Services. “We really want to move it along.”

Later in the article Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst states the Governor's office involvement in matters like this "is not unique".

Um, Amanda. That's not exactly something you want to publicize.

Either way, this kind of clear abuse of the office is something that has become a clear trend in the Strickland Administration. You'd think a Governor who rode into office on the tails of a political scandal would be more careful and go out of his way to keep his nose clean.

Instead, it seems to have only gotten worse.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It's the Jobs Crisis, Stupid.

The big news this weekend was the revision of job losses in Ohio.
Ohio lost more than 70,000 more jobs than initially estimated by the state Department of Job and Family Services, according to revisions made this month. The revisions increased the toll by 38 percent.
The estimate was off by 38%? I think I could gather a bunch of monkeys in a room filled with calculators and do a better job estimating economic indicators than Ted Strickland's Administration. And it seems George Zeller may agree with me...
The monthly jobs estimates get revised each year after the state tallies the number of jobs paying into the unemployment-insurance program, but this year's adjustment probably ranks as "by far the largest revision in history," said George Zeller, an economic analyst in Cleveland who puts out weekly reports on Ohio's job situation.
And here's the dirty details...
From December 2008 to December 2009, more than 255,000 Ohio jobs disappeared, according to revised, seasonally adjusted numbers. The state now has a bit fewer than 5 million jobs. Ohio had most recently had fewer than 5 million workers in 1993.
1993? You mean when Ohio had 441,505 fewer people? And yet, we have just as many people employed as we had then?

Really, Governor? This is what you've let Ohio become?

The worst part is, you don't have a plan to rebound. Instead you want to wait and hope for more federal stimulus dollars to come around.

And what have those stimulus dollars done for our nation so far?
"U.S. companies employed 3.9 million fewer workers in January 2010 than they did one year earlier."

If you will recall, when touting the stimulus, President Obama and his team declared that "a package in the range that the President-Elect has discussed is expected to create between three and four million jobs by the end of 2010 . . . More than 90 percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector."

90 percent of three million jobs would be 2.7 million jobs. Yet we're 3.9 million lower than when we started.

Excuse me if I don't buy what you're selling, Governor.

The fact is this, Ohioans are hurting in ways they haven't for decades. There are few things as important to an individual and his or her family than a job. When you lose your job, or your brother, daughter, or neighbor go on unemployment, you take notice. It's very personal.

With this pain failing to be appeased, voters will be looking for someone to blame. And as Truman said, "the buck stops here". The man in charge. Numero Uno.

Strickland can do his best to deflect blame, but history has proven time and time again that a dissatisfied electorate places the fault on the incumbent.

Governor Strickland is running out of time to satisfy his promise to Turnaround Ohio.

A thought on Troopergate...

As we all know by now, Governor Strickland's Public Safety Director, Cathy Collins-Taylor, is one of the central figures in the scandal.

Based on e-mails and phone calls as broken down in this very well reported investigation by WBNS, Collins-Taylor is in the position to detail specific discussions made over the phone between herself and Strickland's Chief Counsel, Kent Markus.

Additionally, thanks to some particularly inept governing by Strickland's Administration, he failed to get Collins-Taylor approved by the State Senate.

This puts Collins-Taylor in a precarious position. If she wants to keep her job and be approved by the Senate, she will have to satisfactorily answer all questions under oath about Troopergate. If she fails to do so, the Senate will have every reason to not approve her appointment.

This should be fun to watch.

In the meantime, if you're trying to get up-to-date with what this scandal is all about, I highly recommend you read this story by WBNS, and also note their links at the bottom of the page to other stories on Troopergate.

By the end of it you'll be left wondering if we may end up seeing Kent Markus himself working at the Residence if he behaves well in the state penitentiary.

Strickland and Kasich take the Health Care fight to the internet...

On March 22nd, John Kasich posted his thoughts on health care reform on his campaign's blog.
On March 24th, Ted Strickland provided his position on his own website.

Since then, John Kasich's posting has spawned 219 comments on the issue.
And Strickland's post? 3 comments - all critical of the Governor.

Once again we see Kasich's aggressive direct media strategy engaging campaign supporters and those supporters showing enthusiasm to let their ideas be heard.

Meanwhile, Strickland's website lacks one comment supporting his position on health care.

Not one.

With that kind of passivity from Strickland's supporters, I don't envy whoever is in charge of getting out the Democratic vote in November.

Is Ted's 3-C Slow Speed Choo Choo even legal?

Over the weekend, Brent Larkin over at the Cleveland Plain Dealer brought up some interesting points about Ted's major stimulus "victory".
Another view would be the [Strickland] administration has been less than honest with the public -- and other state officials -- about its snail-rail proposal. If this view is correct, Ohio may not have met the eligibility requirements set by the Obama administration as a condition for receiving the $400 million taxpayer handout.
And what are those requirements that haven't been met?
To receive the federal grant, the U.S. Department of Transportation required states to provide passenger rail service that "is reasonably expected to reach speeds of at least 110 miles per hour."


In their application for federal funding, they promised the trains would initially reach 79 mph, but could eventually be upgraded to reach 110 mph.
And what does Larkin spell out? That the 3-C network as now envisioned cannot possibly be expected to reach that threshold. Not even close.

When Ohio Senate President Bill Harris questioned the wisdom of spending so much money on a system whose trains would average only 39 mph over the entire route -- including stops -- Molitoris answered him with a March 17 letter that included this key paragraph:

"Existing tracks can be upgraded to accommodate maximum speeds of up to 110 mph, which is the speed called for in the high-speed rail Ohio Hub plan. New tracks will be needed to accommodate trains traveling above 110 mph."

However, an Oct. 1, 2009, memorandum of understanding between the ORDC and CSX, signed by officials of the railroad and the state, seems to refute that claim. Section 4.2 of that memorandum states, in part:

"Any operating speeds for passenger rail service in excess of 90 mph will require a separated and sealed corridor for the passenger services constructed at least 30 feet offset from existing freight train tracks unless otherwise mutually agreed between the parties."

The language seems pretty unambiguous. If Ohio is to run trains that meet the federal requirement, it will have to lay new track. At what cost? The price tag on the 800-mile high-speed system planned for California is $45 billion. Ohio's planned rail line would cover about 250 miles. Do the math.

So this bring into question another possible option for those seriously opposed to the building of Strickland's 3-C Slow Speed Choo-Choo. If the State Controlling Board somehow allows funding to be disbursed for the project, could someone sue to stop any construction from happening? Or could a Representative in Congress perhaps challenge the funding?

Clearly, Strickland's pet project doesn't adhere to the legal requirements as laid out by Larkin.

Additionally, why did Molitoris lie to Senator Bill Harris in her letter? As the MOU clearly states, new tracks are needed to reach the higher speeds, not existing tracks as she claimed to the Majority Leader.

This project is turning into a perfect example of Strickland's entire term - a total and complete boondoggle.

Methinks Mary Jo isn't ready for the big leagues.

Ohio Congresswoman Mary Jo Kilroy will be happy to see March fade from view.

Just in the last week she's seen Cupcakegate.
Then there was the Ohio Supreme Court ruling she "abused her authority" in steering contracts to pro-Union shops while serving as Franklin County Commissioner.
And now the Columbus Dispatch calls her out for spending the most of any Ohio congressman on sending mailings out to constituents.
U.S. Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy is one of the most prolific members of Congress when it comes to spending money on mass communications with constituents, a report said today. Kilroy, a freshman Democrat from Columbus, was the seventh-biggest spender among members of Congress on so-called "franked" mail and other mass outreach in 2009, the Associated Press reported.

Kilroy spent $377,712 in 2009, her first year in office.

She was the only Ohio representative among the top 20.
The NRCC nails the situation well in this e-mail:
Nash reports on the fact that Kilroy continues to waste taxpayer dollars by spending record amounts on mail – a figure totaling $377,712 in one year. This follows recent reports by the Dispatch on the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling that Kilroy “abused her authority” as a Franklin County Commissioner. She routinely “steer[ed] contracts to union shops, with scant regard for cost, quality and fairness,” a process that Kilroy “championed” and that wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. With the Ohio Supreme Court confirming that she “abused her authority” in office before, is there reason to believe she is exploiting congressional mail to raise her profile for political purposes? How much does she spend on each piece? Is there a way to be more cost-efficient? We already know she didn’t seek out the most cost-efficient way as a county commissioner….
It's an extremely fair question. Let's hope the fourth estate looks a little deeper into this situation.

Wanna be a Field Marshal?

It only costs you $100 bucks.

Of course, for this rank you have to attach yourself to the Jennifer Brunner campaign.

Jesse over at Athens Runaway took the plunge over the weekend and checked out Brunner's campaign site where the barely-breathing Senatorial candidate provides levels of support attached to dollar levels to contribute.

It was the top two that were the most strange. For $500 you could be a "Generalissimo" and for $100 you could be a "Field Marshal".

As Jesse notes, attaching names to contribution levels is nothing new.

But what is new is using military ranks more closely associated with fascism and authoritarian dictatorships than fun, American identifiers like W's "Rangers".

With that said, who really cares? At this point it's just more fun to take jabs at Brunner whose campaign more closely resembles Bruce "What do you mean I've been dead this whole time" Willis in The Sixth Sense than a Senatorial race.

Over the weekend she lost the endorsement of the Cleveland Plain Dealer to Lee Fisher, thereby driving what seems to be the 298th nail in her coffin. It isn't exactly easy to lose the newspaper representing the entire Democratic base in Ohio and think you still have a shot.

Of course, it will remain close until Fisher throws a few advertisements up on the air statewide. Then watch as Brunner rides away into the sunset.

Maybe one of her Generalissimos (if there is more than one) can wait for her.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fidel Castro and Ted Strickland have now endorsed Obamacare. For Realz.

From the LA Times:
It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.
And in case you were wondering what we have to look forward in mirroring the Cuban system...
Then there is the real Cuban system, the one that ordinary people must use — and it is wretched. Testimony and documentation on the subject are vast. Hospitals and clinics are crumbling. Conditions are so unsanitary, patients may be better off at home, whatever home is. If they do have to go to the hospital, they must bring their own bedsheets, soap, towels, food, light bulbs — even toilet paper. And basic medications are scarce. In Sicko, even sophisticated medications are plentiful and cheap. In the real Cuba, finding an aspirin can be a chore. And an antibiotic will fetch a fortune on the black market.

A nurse spoke to Isabel Vincent of Canada’s National Post. “We have nothing,” said the nurse. “I haven’t seen aspirin in a Cuban store here for more than a year. If you have any pills in your purse, I’ll take them. Even if they have passed their expiry date.”

The equipment that doctors have to work with is either antiquated or nonexistent. Doctors have been known to reuse latex gloves — there is no choice. When they travel to the island, on errands of mercy, American doctors make sure to take as much equipment and as many supplies as they can carry. One told the Associated Press, “The [Cuban] doctors are pretty well trained, but they have nothing to work with. It’s like operating with knives and spoons.”

And doctors are not necessarily privileged citizens in Cuba. A doctor in exile told the Miami Herald that, in 2003, he earned what most doctors did: 575 pesos a month, or about 25 dollars. He had to sell pork out of his home to get by. And the chief of medical services for the whole of the Cuban military had to rent out his car as a taxi on weekends. “Everyone tries to survive,” he explained. (Of course, you can call a Cuban with a car privileged, whatever he does with it.)

In case you were wondering....

....yes, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is still blocking me from following him on Twitter.


There's incompetent, then there is the Strickland Administration...

I've said it before. I'll say it again.

Is Governor Strickland trying to lose?

The office of Gov. Ted Strickland failed to submit the appointments of five cabinet directors to the state Senate for approval.

The oversights by the Democrat's administration gives majority Republican senators a chance to decide the future of one cabinet director facing both second-guessing and an investigation by the state inspector general.

Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor likely would have faced few problems if her paperwork had been sent to the Senate shortly after her Sept. 18 appointment. The Senate approves such appointments routinely.

But Collins-Taylor came under scrutiny early this year after stopping a planned sting by state troopers to catch a courier dropping contraband for pickup by a prisoner working at the Governor's Residence.

No wonder he can’t manage the agencies and budget when he can’t even manage paperwork in his own office. This shows a complete disregard for the checks-and-balances system, and it's a slap in the face of Sen. President Bill Harris.

Take me out to the woodshed....

As if current Commissioner and 12th CD candidate Paula Brooks and former Commissioner and current Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy needed anymore bad news:

The Ohio Supreme Court said Franklin County commissioners abused their authority in 2008 when they rejected the low bidder for a painting contract in favor of one with a better record of paying union-scale wages.

Commissioners were wrong to reject the Painting Co.'s $770,079 bid for painting at the Huntington Park ball field for one that cost $261,000 more, the court said in its 5-2 ruling.
Building off of Cupcakegate, perhaps Mary Jo Kiljobs was on a sugar high when she allowed Franklin County to overpay for work on the new baseball stadium. Or maybe she was protecting all the union supplied money that funds her campaigns.

Politics over principle rules once again.

Guess we can plan on seeing more commercials like this one:

Troopergate Pop-Up Video

Below is the now famous video of Major Booker's testimony in front of the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee.

It's followed by what I believe to be the key moments of the hearing, broken down by location in the video.

If you've not been following this developing scandal, this will provide you a good opportunity to get caught up.

Major Robert W. Booker Jr. provides testimony to the Ohio Senate Judiciary - Criminal Justice Committe, March 24, 2010 from Old Guard Productions on Vimeo.

@17:53: 'In 33 years I've never seen this sort of effort to downscale a criminal investigation'.

@20:20: Safety claim is an insult to troopers who face far more danger daily.

@32:08: First testimony on the illegal workers investigation, this is where the Dispatch got the "never happened before" quote. It's where Markus had met with lobbyist Tom Fries. There is detailed testimony about extensive attempts to get details in an ongoing investigation.

@36:28: The result of this policy is like having firemen at a burning home need permission from the landlord to enter the house and save people.

@38:58: Discussion on policy keeping investigators from direct communication with prosecutors, Booker is told comply or resign.

@46:24: Detail on new policy forbidding criminal investigation by the patrol unless directed by the Governor’s Chief Legal Counsel.

@48:20 is a clip on inmates having access to the 2nd floor of the Governor’s residence and Highway Patrol officers being restricted to the first floor. This is crucial because it shoots a huge hole in the Strickland office contention that safety was the issue behind shutting down the drug bust, there is a daily safety hazard with inmates potentially able to overpower the Governor or First Lady.
So there you have it - The testimony under oath of a devoted and loyal state trooper to the state of Ohio. A man who has worked under both Republicans and Democrats. A man with no motivation to perjure himself. Believe him, or believe the politician.

Dessert can cost ya.

Maybe Mary Jo Kilroy is still trying to get the hang of it.

Or maybe her office staff doesn't know how to read.

If they did, they would have paid more attention to this section of the House ethics manual.

Why? Because of what showed up on the Progress Ohio website this week.

Namely, these pics....

They thank her for her yes vote by providing assorted desserts.

The House Ethics Manual plainly states...
"Never accept a gift that is linked to any official action you have taken..."
As the above pictures show, these health care reform advocates are doing exactly that.

Is that getting awfully strict? Yes.
Is it following the rules as they are plainly stated? Yes.

Now, I'm sure nothing will happen to Kilroy's office. But they should be more careful about the gifts they accept.

UPDATE: I've been informed that Progress Ohio is defending this action by stating that the desserts were meant to thank Kilroy and her staff for "their hard work over the past year", and not specifically for her vote on health care. Yeah, right.

But, either way, Nancy Pelosi's ethics manual plainly states "never accept a gift that is linked to any official action".

Since when is "work" not an official action of a Congresswoman?

Now don't get me wrong. They can thank them for their hard work or they can give them cupcakes. But they CANNOT accept a gift linked to any official action. Work is an official action, therefore they can not receive cupcakes for their hard work. They could have just received cupcakes for no reason, that's fine.

But at the end of the day, it's just cupcakes. Whoopty-friggin'-do. It's simply 3BP's recommendation that Kilroy's office be a little more careful next time.

But hey, if you want to turn it into "Cupcakegate", that's fine with me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Strickland should have read the bill.

When Strickland said he wished he was still in Congress so he could have voted for Obamacare, he highlighted how it would help small businesses and cover kids.

Well, not so much.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Quote from video:
Businesses with fewer than 25 employees that pay an average of no more than $40,000 will get a tax credit – up to 35 percent of the company’s share of their total health care premium.

Companies with 26-49 workers are unaffected.

Businesses with 50 or more workers must offer coverage or pay $750 per worker. That penalty applies for every employee if even one signs up for government-subsidized insurance.

But there are potential problems. Case in point: It would be much cheaper for Dick Bus to drop the generous coverage he now offers and take the hit at $750 a head for his 120 workers. The penalty would be $90,000 a year. He’s currently spending $480,000.

Bus would save $390,000, but canceling his plan would force his workers to the health plan exchange and could cost more than they’re paying now. The Senate is considering an increase in the $750 penalty to prevent that scenario.

Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air explains the issue perfectly. Check it out:

Bus insists that he won’t cut his employees loose, which is certainly noble, but unrealistic. If his competitors do it and lower their costs, allowing them to lower prices on their products and services, Bus will have to follow suit or go out of business. Small businesses already operate on tight margins, and this will be an easy business decision for those companies, at least when their CEO isn’t on camera.

In an otherwise good and balanced report, CBS misses another strange incentive. As listed above, small businesses only become eligible for the credits if their average salary remains below $40,000. That means a decision to give raises not only carries the cost of the raise itself to the business, but also a potential loss of that 35% subsidy ObamaCare grants. This will have the overall effect of suppressing salaries and putting experienced workers at a disadvantage in hiring decisions. It also provides an incentive to keep the workforce under 26 people; the 26th hire eliminates that 35% subsidy as well, making it a very expensive new position.

ObamaCare sets all of its incentives to oppose growth. Can anyone wonder at the impact this will have on the economy?

One other anti-growth incentive, businesses with 50-60 workers have a big incentive now to downsize.

And this is the bill Strickland claims will help small businesses grow? This is the bill that will help Ohioans? Ridiculous.

But it doesn't end with small businesses. What about the highly touted coverage for kids?
Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children.

Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.

This is what happens when you rush a bill through. This is what happens when you refuse to compromise with the other side.

This is the mess Ted Strickland has happily joined.

Troopergate coverage explodes...

Back in February, I stated the following in discussion of media coverage of Troopergate and an article focusing on the scandal in the Columbus Dispatch:
In campaigns, each and every day is a competition. You either win or lose.

Today, Strickland lost. The question now becomes, how many more days will TrooperGate force Strickland to surrender?
Well, with the explosive testimony in the Ohio Senate yesterday, Troopergate just exploded.

Need proof? Let's look at yesterday's coverage:
Kent Markus? Drugs? Obstruction? Hmmm. Interesting.

Either way, this kind of coverage ensures that once again, the Governor lost yesterday's competition.

Toledo may have a few less TED stickers on cars this year.

This was a headline in the Toledo Blade yesterday:

Unemployed workers in places like Perrysburg, Fremont, and Bryan shake their heads and ask, "Where have all the jobs gone?"

A new study by the think tank Economic Policy Institute has a partial answer: China.


The study estimated that Ohio lost 91,800 jobs to China for the eighth worst job losses in the nation.
These kinds of stories aren't the way for Strickland to make himself any less "unusually popular".

But, then again, with a 'kick-the-can' jobs policy, the Governor has no one but himself to blame.

We know Ohio hates Obamacare, but what about the nation...

This poll was released by CBS(!) News late yesterday...

'Nuff said.

No surprise to anyone: Obamacare is unpopular in Ohio

Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling polled the Ohio Senate race this week, as well as the popularity of Obamacare.

Portman had a small lead against both Fisher and Brunner, but the story was the high level of anonymity among all candidates. 55%, 62%, and 66% of Ohioans didn't know enough about Fisher, Brunner, and Portman, respectively, to have an opinion.

The complete and total lack of engagement by Ohio voters does encourage one particular point for all statewide races, don't blow your opportunity to push your major proposals when no one in Ohio is listening.

What amazes me is that Lee Fisher, despite this Senate race being his FIFTH time on the statewide ballot, still has more than half of Ohio having absolutely no idea who he is.

That takes a special kind of boring.

But the real story of this poll was the massive unpopularity of Obamacare in Ohio.

Here are the approve/disapprove numbers by Party:

+15 oppose?
Almost 1/5 of Democrats are against it?
Independents hate it by 35 points?!?!

And before anyone wants to discount PPP as a legitimate poll, check out this analysis showing them to be one of the most accurate pollsters of the 2008 election. Additionally, they are DEMOCRATS!

Said Ted Strickland after learning about these numbers, "this would have been good information to know last week! Sheesh!"

Congressman Boccieri was known to have uttered, "oh crap", before running into his office supply closet and closing the door.

And Mary Jo Kiljobs was reported to have started crying. Weeping, actually.

Said the entire Democratic Party....


Mary Jo Kilroy misses Columbus....

...or else she wouldn't vote with Pelosi almost 99% of the time, support the amazingly unpopular Health Care bill, and now this...
Two of central Ohio's lawmakers, GOP Reps. Pat Tiberi of Genoa Township and Steve Austria of Beavercreek, aren't asking for earmarks in the 2011 spending bills, taking part in House Republicans' one-year ban on such requests.

But Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, D-Columbus, has submitted a long wish list to the House Appropriations Committee - more than 50 earmarks totaling more than $115 million.
Good Lord.

Can someone please point to the magic money tree where Mary Jo seems to think all this cash comes from?

Why stop with Dayton? Might as well mess up Springfield, too.

Governor Strickland already screwed up when NCR abandoned Dayton to move down to Georgia.

But why stop there? It looks like Ohio is well on its way to losing more jobs and investments in the Springfield area.
Ohio politicians are seeking President Barack Obama’s help to keep the Netherlands from moving its F-16 training missions from Ohio to Arizona.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who is facing a tough reelection fight, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) have in recent weeks engaged Obama, members of the administration and the U.S. Air Force to keep the Dutch fighter pilots in Springfield — along with the local jobs they bring.


Air Force data obtained by The Hill shows that a three-year training period in Springfield would cost $117.3 million and the same period would cost $105.3 million in Tucson. The Dutch have indicated to the Air Force repeatedly that cost would be the overriding factor in their looming decision.


The Springfield base currently employs 1,000 people, 450 of whom are full-time employees. The jobs are at risk if the Air Force doesn’t find a new mission for Springfield.
I'm told an earlier failure of bringing in Singapore for training missions drove up costs by eliminating the ability to distribute costs between two tenants, so the Dutch costs went up.

The question then becomes why Strickland failed to provide an adequate incentive for Singapore to come to Ohio. Additionally, is the Obama White House giving Strickland the cold shoulder when it comes to asking for assistance?

Either way, this seems like yet another example of Strickland failing to do enough to save Ohio jobs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No, seriously. Where is Yvette McGee Brown?

I'm getting a little worried.

While Kasich is highlighting his Lieutenant Governor candidate all over the state, there is no sign that Yvette McGee Brown, Governor Strickland's LG nominee, currently exists.

I can't find any news articles about any events featuring McGee Brown in the past month.

There is no sign of her on the Ted Strickland campaign website, besides her bio and clips from the initial announcement.

Meanwhile, Mary Taylor is on the move all over the state.

As I've mentioned before, she may be under the radar raising money or something. Who knows? But why hasn't the media asked the Governor why he doesn't bring her to any campaign events? I mean, it's been 64 days since she was announced as the LG candidate, and that's the last time she's seen a campaign stage.

Chris Redfern made cracks about Mary Taylor not being up for the job when Kasich chose her as his running mate. Rightly so, the media pushed back on those accusations and I commend them for that. But what does McGee Brown's absence say about the Democrats' own candidate? Don't they trust her on the stump? Can't she even go to Democratic Party functions to speak?

If you've seen her, leave a comment on this post. I'm honestly curious where she is and want to be sure she's ok.

Memo to the GOP: Don't get distracted.

One of the biggest mistakes Democrats have made over the past several months was to focus primarily on health care and ignore the jobs crisis.

In a Gallup poll earlier this month, Americans named "unemployment" and "economy in general" as their top two issues, with "health care" lagging behind.

If you combine the top two along with the economically related issue in the top 5, the federal deficit, economic issues are more important than health care by a margin of 63%-20%.

All in all, Americans are overwhelmingly more concerned about their economic well-being than the status of their health care.

That's something the Democrats learned the hard way over the course of the health care debate. While surely frustration with the government takeover led to a good portion of Obamacare's unpopularity and the turnaround in the generic congressional ballot, the simple fact that Democrats were ignoring the most pressing issue facing Americans means far more.

The fact is this, health care is not the most important issue, and more relevant to the topic at hand, it's not the most tangible.

People are feeling the jobs crisis. They see their shrinking checking accounts. They are having trouble selling their homes. They know friends and family looking for jobs.

By and large, the majority of Americans aren't feeling a health care crisis. Sure, they think the system needs reformed, but mostly for the guy on TV the President is talking about, not for their own lives.

We can't forget that the GOP already has a winning issue for November: the Stimulus.

The $862 billion stimulus, a Democrat-owned initiative that spends more than the entire Iraq War has cost since its inception, has failed.

Come the fall, with unemployment still high, there will be no doubt that the stimulus failed to do what Democrats promised it would do.

Additionally, all polls point to a public who has already bought into that perception. But by focusing all our energy on a health care repeal, we are wasting a valuable political opportunity.

Now, by no means am I saying the GOP should abandon its talking points on Obamacare. Keep it up. But prioritize your efforts.

Embrace the issue that hits home the most for Americans.

The jobs crisis.

UPDATE: I've had a couple e-mails from folks questioning how this post can coexist with my previous post pushing for conservatives to not let up on the health care fight. It's a fair point, but it's explained in the above post in terms of prioritizing our tactics. For example, the grassroots is in a perfect position to continue attending town hall meetings and pushing their Representatives on health care. Additionally, the GOP leadership can utilize its fundraising dollars to push Democrats on their failures to effectively address the jobs crisis.

We must address the issues that have proven to be first and foremost on the minds of the majority of voters, and that's jobs. But that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of opportunity to hit the opposition on their mess of a health care reform bill.

PPP spells doom for Strickland.

I've been saying it since last August. And I've known it even longer.

The 2010 Ohio gubernatorial election will be a referendum on Governor Ted Strickland.

The new PPP poll, their first since last June, tells an amazing story of an "unusually unpopular" Strickland and the immense difficulties he faces if he wants to make the Governor's race competitive.

Some background on PPP before we move on. Public Policy Polling is a Dem firm. This doesn't necessarily reflect any biases towards Democrats, but it does help put things into perspective. Second, the polling sample included Ohioans who had voted at least once in the past three general elections. This puts them somewhere between Registered and Likely voters. Not exactly a poll that clearly benefits the Democrat, but not the most accurate reflection of those most likely to vote in November.

So what did we learn? Let's get to it.

1. Independents are winning the race for John Kasich.
By winning Independents 47-24, Kasich is in command of the race. But this isn't necessarily because of anything Kasich is doing, but moreso because of the amazing level of frustration coming from Independents towards Strickland. Which leads to...

2. Strickland is very, very, very unpopular.
Compared with last June, Strickland's approval has seen a net decrease of an amazing 15%, coming in at 33-47. Clearly, the jobs crisis, the budget mess, and the woefully dull State of the State has done nothing to help his case among Ohioans.

Among Independents Strickland has seen an even more drastic swing, losing a net 31 points since last June.

What about his Democratic base? Well, despite being in office nearly four years only 53% of DEMOCRATS approve of him. When just under half of your base doesn't approve of the job you've done, you have to wonder how in the hell you're going to (1) change their minds, and (2) convince them so enthusiastically that they go out and vote.

3. Kasich who?
John Kasich still remains relatively unknown with 50% not knowing enough about him to have an opinion. Among those who do know him, he stands at an overall 1:1 ratio of favorability. With Independents, that ratio stays relatively unchanged. This stands as the most negative perception of Kasich yet from any publicly released poll. That doesn't mean 1:1 is necessarily bad, especially considering PPP fails to measure the level of approval and disapproval.

Yet despite their lack of knowledge or relative approval of Kasich, they still think so little of Strickland that they have no problem pulling the level for the GOP challenger. Additionally, even if Dems are able to keep Kasich at a relatively mediocre approval rating of 1:1 through election day, this poll shows they still have a long way to go to win the race. Democrats can't just tear down Kasich, they need to build up Strickland's brand, and without an economic turnaround, that simply isn't going to happen.

4. Curious where Ohio stands re: Party ID?
PPP's poll breaks down the voting blocs as 42% Democrat, 39% Republican, and 19% Independent/Other. Sounds about right.

5. Can Obama help?
Not yet he can't. In a later post on their blog, PPP previewed presidential numbers coming out later today.
It's a similar story in Ohio. He won there by four points in 2008 but our approval numbers there for him tomorrow will show him at -13 (40/53) for a drop of 17 points.
In summary, the PPP poll shows moreso than any previously released poll that the 2010 election is first and foremost a referendum on Governor Strickland. Despite reasonably meh favorability numbers from Kasich, voters still are so disgusted with Strickland that they can't stand pulling the lever.

The problem Strickland now faces is this, 'how can I win them back'? The answer? You can't. It's too late. Without a gamechanging event, Ohio's way of life will not be substantively changing in time for the electorate's mood to evolve over the course of this election year.

Unemployment will stay high. No substantive health care benefits will kick in. Nothing will change.

So Strickland is faced with the reality of needing to run one of the most negative campaigns Ohio has ever seen in order to completely delegitimize Kasich as a viable alternative to the electorate. Yet, at the same time, he needs to convince the voters who currently have highly unfavorable opinions of him to come back to the fold.

As history has shown, it's virtually impossible to have it both ways.

Ted Strickland needs a miracle.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Think Ohio's brain drain is going away?

Not so much.

Ted Strickland thinks Ohio is in the midst of an economic recovery.

I'd be willing to bet these Ohio State graduates disagree.

A question to ask each of the 219.

I hope the press asks this question of every Congressman that voted for Obamacare as well as each elected official that endorsed the legislation:

"Will you disapprove if, provided the Republicans ever regain the majority and the Presidency, the GOP uses the same legislative tactics employed by Democrats during passage of their Health Care bill to pass Social Security reform?"

There was nothing wrong with how they did it? Fine. Let's get these guys on the record.

Why there is hope.

Building off the last post, Rich Lowry wrote a solid piece on Obamacare passage.

Here's the good stuff:

If they had stacked the bill so the major benefits came first, underpromised so it would exceed expectations once enacted and designed it to be fiscally sustainable, it'd rest on a solid foundation.

Instead, desperate to sell the unpopular reform in a center-right country, they've done the opposite on all counts:

* They backloaded the benefits to keep the official costs in the first 10 years just under $1 trillion. This makes the bill vulnerable to rollback or diminishment over time, especially as representations made about it prove untrue.

* The bill won't reduce premiums and costs as Obama promises.

* As its tawdry fiscal tricks -- double-counting revenue, keeping inconvenient new spending off the books, assuming unlikely Medicare savings -- get exposed in the harsh light of reality, Obama's description of the bill as an indispensable deficit-reduction measure will look equally cynical and laughable.

For all that, the left's investment in Obama beginning in the 2008 nomination contest has been vindicated. He promised to reject Clintonian triangulation, and he has. He talked of transforming the country, and has taken a major step toward social democracy in America.

Despite his silky rhetoric, when push came to shove, he adopted the partisan hardball beloved by lefty bloggers to forestall serious compromise and work his ideological will.

Obama stands exposed as the kind of unabashed liberal Democrat who hasn't won a presidential election since 1964. The first electoral test for this iteration of Obama, shorn of all pretense to moderation, comes in November.

November? No. The first test came and went in 2009. But Obama decided to forego those warnings and double down.

He'll pay with massive electoral losses in November. With the "backloaded benefits" not coming until 2014, the electorate won't see any tangible "improvements" until well after Obama's re-election campaign. And if that is lost, a "fix" of Obamacare by Republicans will be first on the agenda come late January of 2013.

Warning not received.

Peter Beinart wrote an interesting piece that clearly highlighted an interesting choice the President has made:
Obama has embraced polarization over triangulation. He has chosen Karl Rove’s politics of base mobilization over Dick Morris’s politics of crossover appeal, with consequences not merely for how he campaigns for Democrats in 2010, but for he campaigns for himself in 2012.
To the President, GOP victories in VA, NJ(!), and even MA(!!!!!) weren't received.

They were his warning shot. A chance to see what will most likely happen in the 2010 midterms should he not reverse course.

Bill Clinton received the message about Hillarycare in the '94 Revolution and went on to maintain a very popular Presidency, but with few major liberal policy victories thanks to the new GOP majority.

Bush won re-election, but his style of governing frustrated his base and his style of politics alienated Independents, leading to Democratic congressional takeover in 2007.

Obama had an opportunity to learn these lessons. He refused. He not only refused, he took things even further than Clinton ever did.

Should Obama be worried? Absolutely. At this time in 1994, President Clinton enjoyed a 52% Gallup approval rating. We all know what happened 7 and a half months later.

What's Obama's Gallup approval rating right now?


He should have taken the warning.

Strickland and Health Care

Strickland is as politically astute as a rock.

From the Dispatch:
Strickland, who has said his only regret about leaving Congress when he became governor in 2006 is that he couldn't vote for the bill, supports it.
For some reason, Ted Strickland thinks supporting this bill is a political winner. If he didn't, he could simply keep his mouth shut.

I don't need to go into all the reasons why taking ownership of HCR in Ohio is a stupid idea. Just take a look at the polls. Let me know when you find one that says more Ohioans support it than don't.

But for the hell of it, let's take a look at where they stand by checking out the Quinnipiac Poll from last month. The poll only tested Registered, rather than Likely voters, a sample that inherently benefits Democrats and therefore is worse predictor. And to the delight of Democrats everywhere, it even showed Ted Strickland up on John Kasich by single digits.

In this poll, this question was asked: "From what you've heard or read, do you mostly approve or mostly disapprove of the proposed changes to the health care system under consideration in Congress?"

It's hard to get more straightforward than that.

But even in this poll that skews liberal, approve to disapprove ended up being 33-56 overall, and 30-61 among Independents.

Now since that poll was taken, Strickland has decided to go on record as wishing to have had the opportunity to support the bill.

Once both John Kasich and Ted Strickland make sure each and every Ohioan knows that, you can sure as hell bet those who disapprove of HCR will remember where Strickland stands when they pull the lever come November.

Additionally, Strickland recently went on MSNBC to talk about health care reform. He stated:
The good news for the states is between 2014 and 2017 there's no additional cost. And we estimate that in going forward after 2017 it is going to cost Ohio about an additional $200 million per year, but we think that's a good tradeoff.
Just another $200 million? And that's your conservative guess seven years out?

It amazes me that Governor Strickland is willing to throw cash around like this when everyone has finally accepted we're going to be in an $8 billion hole for the next biennial budget.

He also said:
...well, we lost some time perhaps. but i believe the health care debate is part of jobs debate. If we relieve the burden on small businesses, small businesses will have more resources to invest and grow and to create jobs. so i don't think it's possible really to separate the health care issues facing Ohio from the burdens that small business are facing in Ohio.
It will help small businesses, eh? The Wall Street Journal disagrees in an analysis that included Ohio:
...a 40-year-old husband and wife with two kids would see their premiums jump by 122%—to $737 from $332—while a small business with eight employees in Franklin County would see premiums climb by 86%. It's true that the family or the individual might qualify for subsidies if their incomes are low enough, but the business wouldn't qualify under the Senate Finance bill...
Governor, how exactly does raising premiums on small businesses help solve Ohio's job crisis?

Like our side really needed more ammo for comparative commercials next fall.

Don't let up.

One of the great benefits for Obamacare supporters right now is the renewed opportunity to sell their plan to the voters.

Much of yesterday's coverage consisted of "what will this bill do" talking points straight from the mouths of the Obama White House. The spoils of victory.

And with their victory comes our temptation to move on to the next issue.

But if Republicans want to be able to fully utilize the political benefits of this bill's passage, they need to act like it never passed.

That means continuing to saturate congressional town halls and forcing questions and concerns about Obamacare. It means writing letters to the editor. It means tweeting. It means not letting up in making sure everyone understands the negative aspects of this bill.

Facebook wars.

Last night around 11:30 I joined the "I bet we can find 1,000,000+ people who disapprove of the Health Care Bill" facebook group. Usually these types of "bet we can find 1M people" groups end up getting nowhere close to their goal.

Well, when I joined the group had about 383,000 members already.

90 minutes later, when I finished writing this post, it had 407,019 members.

For comparison's sake, the "I bet we can find 1,000,000+ people who approve of the Health Care Bill" group had a grand total of 1,507 members.

Yes, it's just facebook. Yes, it's totally and completely unscientific. That doesn't make it any less interesting.