The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that not much has changed in the race from March. Strickland still holds onto a five-point lead of 43% to 38% among registered voters. In fact, Quinnpiac’s trend data actually shows the race is essentially where it was in July of last year.
Strickland and Kasich essentially split the all-important Independent vote with Strickland claiming a slight edge. In fact, with all but the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll (which may have been nothing more than statistical noise as the movement was close to the margin of error), we’ve seen a trend that Strickland’s poll standings improved after February and has held static since then. Even the improvement in the most recent Ohio Poll seems to confirm this trend as it’s most recent prior poll was in January when Rasmussen and Quinnipiac showed Kasich at his peak.
The pro-Strickland ads do seem to draw some blood on Kasich, though. Kasich’s seen a 10 point drop in people who don’t know enough about him to form either a favorable or unfavorable opinion. Almost that entire ten point drop, though, went from undecided to unfavorable. This shows the DGA’s ads are defining Kasich’s voters minds which will make it harder for Kasich to improve his head-to-head later if that trend continues.
Conversely, you could argue that the RGA ads have been working, too. Thus, leaving the proxy air war into a draw. Strickland’s disapproval rating is arguably up four points (I say arguably because that’s within the margin, therefore, it’s entirely possible there is no movement here, either.) However, Strickland has seen roughly a six-point drop in the percentage who believe he kept his campaign promises, but virtually no movement on handling the economy which remains in the 30s in approval.
You’d think with such low approval ratings in specifically rebuilding the economy, that Kasich would have an advantage on the economy, right?
Yet again, Quinnipiac shows that Ohio voters are still split as to which would do better in rebuilding Ohio’s economy and close to split on who would be better in handling the budget. Voters also split as to which candidate would more likely keep their campaign promises and reflect their values.
This race in poll after poll says its a draw.
With only four months left in the campaign, Kasich has done NOTHING to introduce himself to voters. A majority of Ohioans, and a stunning 40% of registered Republicans, say they simply don’t know enough about John Kasich to form an opinion. Those that have been forming an opinion have been influenced by the DGA. If this trend continues, Kasich’s favorability ratings could split, or even better, his unfavorability rating could exceed his favorability ratings, thus making it virtually impossible for Kasich to improve his head-to-head rankings.
This is yet another poll that shows that until Kasich is willing to show a plan that contrasts to Strickland’s approach, more voters are willing to go with the candidate they know. A pure “referendum” election strategy against Strickland is one that polling suggests does not indicate a Republican victory in November.
On a side note, Quinny’s press release boasts that Ohioans would like to see an Arizona-type “papers please” anti-immigration law here in Ohio. However, Quinnipiac’s own numbers don’t exactly show it to be the political winner the press release portrays it as being. Less than a majority of registered voters support adopting such a law. And the people against such a law are only ten points behind those who support it. Ohioans are virtually evenly split as to whether such a law would result in discrimination against Hispanics. While it’s true that a plurality of Ohioans support adopting an Arizona-type law, it’s actually a rather unimpressive plurality.
And for all the talk of a pro-GOP wave in the electorate, the Quinnpiac poll shows Ohioans continue to want their split government and do not want to return to the Republicans controlling both the Governor’s office and the state legislature.
Ohioans are indicating that they want this to be a choice election. They want to hear what each candidate plans on doing. If Kasich decides to continue to sit back and hope that people will just vote against the economy by voting against Strickland, this (and other polling) suggests Strickland might very well still win.