The good thing about a statewide poll where you have two largely unknown candidates is that it demonstrates the partisan barometer. And the Quinnipiac shows that Ohioans aren’t as crazy about Republicans and the Tea Party as Old Media has led you to believe.
The Quinnipiac poll has been the only poll to test Ohio voters attitudes on such things and here’s what it found:
- While voters are generally split on their opinion of the Democratic Party, Ohioans have a net negative six point opinion of the Republican Party.
- Male voters are split on the Republican Party, but have a net negative 19 point unfavorable opinion of the Democratic Party (which is why PPP showing Strickland has erased Kasich’s lead with male voters is so significant.)
- Women have a negative twelve point unfavorable opinion of the Republican, but have a positive fourteen point favorable opinion of the Democratic Party
- Independent voters are called that for a reason. There is no statistically significant difference between their attitudes towards the Republican Party than their opinion of the Democratic Party.
- Opinion among the Tea Party is virtually equally split between favorable, unfavorable, and don’t know with unfavorability gaining several points since February.
So while this environment is different in Ohio than 2006 in that the electorate does not have a lopsided favorable opinion of the Democratic Party while having an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, it’s not exactly a Republican environment. In fact, it’s more of a neutral environment. Nor is it an “anti-Democratic” electorate as the Democratic candidates for Governor and Senate are both leading (although Fisher’s lead is statistically insignificant.)
Is it an anti- incumbent electorate? No, Ted Strickland is leading. Sherrod Brown, George Voinovich, and even Lee Fisher all have decent approval ratings.
Anti-Obama environment? No, Ohio voters are essentially split as to whether they want the winner of the Senate race to generally support or oppose Obama’s agenda, even though a majority of Ohioans disapprove of the job Obama is doing.
Anti-health care reform environment? No. In what is a blow to Mike DeWine’s Attorney General race, a majority of Ohioans think his pledge to challenge the constitutionality of health care reform as A.G. is by far, a bad idea. (This is the widest margin between disfavor to favor yet.)
In fact, health care reform doesn’t seem to be toxic for the folks in Congress who supported it. 22% of Ohioans said voting for health care reform makes them more likely to vote to re-elect their Congressman while 36% said it would make no difference. That means to 58% of the electorate, voting for health care reform is not a liability as opposed to the 38% who says it makes them less likely to vote to re-elect.
But just how much less likely? Not much. According to Quinnipiac, a majority of Ohioans say they’d be incline to vote for a Member of Congress they disagreed over health care reform, but otherwise agreed with on the other issues. (This is the first time a majority of Ohioans indicating this, thus indicating that opposition to health care reform and the Congresspeople who supported it are easing.)
So what is this environment? Well, to be honest, it’s like my toddler son trying to tell me what he wants for dinner. He knows what he doesn’t like, but can’t figure out what he wants from the choices provided to him.