This morning, the Strickland campaign had a telephone conference with national and local media (and me) to talk about strategy.  They’ve said the same thing I’ve observed.  The “public polling” is all over the place because of a wide disparity in their various likely voter models.  Regardless, none of the public polling is showing what their internal polling is showing except:

  • Since July, John Kasich’s unfavorables have risen quicker than favorability.
  • At the same time Ted’s favorability has increased while unfavorability has been steadily going down.
  • In their internal polling, Strickland has huge advantages on trust, fighting for the middle class, reflect their values.  Key advantages to have in any election.

There was no talk about Strickland’s approval rating which is still well below 50%.  The campaign has completely denied reports that the DGA has pulled or is pulling out of Ohio.  (So has the DGA to me, but that hasn’t stopped some in the media to report it even AFTER the DGA dumped money into ODP to help with the race.)

I asked given that the topic of the week seem to be education after Kasich’s comments to the Cincinnati Enquirer, his newest ad, and a Dispatch poll showing few Ohioans believe Strickland has fixed education funding like he promised, would we see education in a paid media ad soon?

No real answer beyond that the campaign will continue to try to educate the public on Strickland’s record on education in the remaining 40 some odd days left in the campaign.  Clearly, this means that jobs are such an overwhelming issue in the campaign, usually important issues like education are pretty much non-issues in most voters minds this election.  Otherwise, why else would the Strickland campaign wait so late to even bring it up?

I asked why and when we could expect to see the campaign hit Kasich’s income and estate tax repeals at all in their paid media?  Aaron Pickerell, the campaign manager, said stay tuned.  I’m amazed that we’re days away from early voting starting, and neither candidate has mentioned Kasich’s signature issue of tax repeals.  While I have always acknowledged that Lehman was a good line of attack, I’ve personally always thought the implications of the tax repeal was even more so.  Regardess, the rhetorical well on Lehman is pretty much dried up, and its time for the campaign to throw the next punch.

Today, the Strickland campaign released another positive ad, but it contained a subtle dig and comparison to Kasich.  I think this is the best ad for the campaign, and perhaps, the cycle so far.

After a year of practically screaming Wall Street and “Lehman Brothers,” the Strickland campaign now feels it’s out there enough to subtly dog whistle it in their ads.  Oh, and Ted Strickland never appears in his ads.

If this was part of their strategy all along, the Strickland campaign takes more care, time, and detail in “setting the table” than Martha Stewart does throwing a Thanksgiving dinner.  This ad could (should) have been run in August.  Maybe they wanted the Invacare/China thing to sink in more.  I give up trying to figure it out anymore.  They clearly have a plan and aren’t blinking away from their playbook.

This ad works so long as the electorate hasn’t started to set on Kasich.  That seems to be the big question in the race:  How gelled is the electorate?  If polling over the past year is any question, we haven’t seen much movement for Strickland, but significant back and forth swings with Kasich.  Is this the ad that can finally move the needle up for Strickland, too?

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