So much for John Kasich starting to see a “bounce” in his polling. This morning, Quinnipiac released it’s latest polling in Ohio in two months. The news is pretty down right miserable for Kasich.
For the first time for Quinnipiac, Kasich’s disapproval has hit 50%. His approval rating has dropped back down to 35%. Seven months into his term, and Kasich has yet to break with a 40% in his approval rating. Kasich has lost further ground with independents who now disapprove by 34% to 48% from 37% to 47% in May.
Only two-thirds of Republicans approve of Kasich’s job performance, which is unchanged from May. That tepid support from his party is the only thing keep Kasich’s approval rating from diving below 30%. Even more troubling for Kasich is that he’s increasingly losing male voters who had been a strong part of his base of support. Back in January, while Kasich was getting an approval/disapproval rating of 30% to 22%, he was doing 33% to 23% among male voters. In May, male voters split on Kasich with 44% approving and 46% disapproving. Now, it’s 40% approving to 48% disapproving. This is the most underwater Kasich has been with male voters so far. He’s gone from +10 with them to –8 in the course of six months. The bromance with Kasich, it appears is over.
In the course of six months, Kasich has seen his approval rating climb only five points while his disapproval rating has more than doubled (+28).
The good news for Kasich is that the only thing that is less popular than him is his budget, SB 5, and President Obama’s health insurance mandate. By 67% to 29%, more Ohioans oppose the health insurance mandate than support it. But when asked how they intend to vote on a Tea Party-backed state constitutional amendment to attempt to declare such a mandate unconstitutional, Ohio voters are largely split 48% in favor, 45% opposed. That suggests that the Tea Party’s health care amendment is not likely to be the big conservative turnout machine that the GOP was hoping it would be to try to save SB 5 this November, which has never been less popular than now.
In May, it appeared that opposition to SB 5 was cooling, but today’s polling shows opposition to SB 5 at an all-time high. Overall, no matter how Quinnipiac asked the question, only 34% of Ohioans support SB 5—an all-time low for its support. Depending on the phrasing (whether calling it just “collective bargaining” or “collective bargaining rights”), opposition to SB 5 ranged from 52% to 55%, either being an all-time high for its respective phrasing.
Support for a referendum to repeal SB 5 is also at an all-time high as a result. By a 56% to 32% margin, Ohioans support a referendum to repeal SB 5. Support for the referendum has grown six points since May. The big reason is that support for the referendum with male voters has gone from a 42% keep/49% repeal split in May to a 37% to 55% split in July. The biggest problem for SB 5’s supporters is that Ohioans believe by a 50% to 38% margin that SB 5 is NOT needed to help balance the State’s budget.
"A loss on SB 5 would be a no confidence vote on the governor from the voters of Ohio."—Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Although in theory, Ohioans say they’d prefer a budget that just made spending cuts and didn’t raise taxes, Ohioans clearly don’t support Kasich’s other signature achievement—his “Jobs” Budget. Ohioans disapprove of how Kasich is handling the State’s finances by 32% to 54% with even Ohioans in Republican Southwestern Ohio disapproving by a 30% to 61% margin (which essentially ties the margins in Democratic-rich Northeastern Ohio.)
Anytime anyone in the media or some conservative drones on about how great Kasich’s budget is, remind them of this little fact: Ted Strickland NEVER polled so poorly with his budgets during his entire term. If budgetary issues was supposed to be an area of Kasich’s political strengths, then it’s no wonder why he can’t seem to do anything about his horrible approval rating.
Now that Kasich’s budget is law, opposition to it has never been higher. By a 50% to 32% margin, Ohioans say the Kasich budget is unfair to people like themselves. A plurality (34%) say the budget cuts go too far while 25% say he didn’t go far enough and 30% say it was about right. Although, this is actually an improvement for Kasich on these numbers since May.
Only 34% of Ohioans believe the Kasich budget will mostly help Ohio’s economy, 27% believe it will hurt the economy, and 30% believe it will make no difference. Kasich can’t seem to move the needle on convincing more Ohioans that his budget will help the economy. It’s been stuck at 34% since May.
Support for the voter I.D. law is strong with 78% saying they support it and only 20% saying they oppose it. Quinnipiac shows Democratic support for the proposal going 2:1 in favor. Expect this finding and the opposition to Obama’s healthcare mandate to be the only results the myopic Statehouse Republicans to publicly acknowledge existing.
In viewing the totality, Kasich is in public opinion quicksand in Ohio right now. It seems the more he struggles to try get big achievements done to try to lift his numbers, the more he sinks. The real question is how fluid is the opposition to Kasich, and as the months add up, will the opposition to Kasich start to set like concrete so that nothing Kasich can do can change minds, or is this just a temporary state of things that Kasich can change minds if he can make a case that his proposals have improved things in Ohio?
The conventional political wisdom is that a first-term politician typically would want to avoid having such high disapproval ratings so early in their term because once you reach those numbers, it’s hard to change people’s mind from that initial impression they got early in your term. At this point, it’s hard to see Kasich changing minds on the disapproval side when it’s been consistently been growing and it’s his approval rating that has actually shown some ebb.
Bob Taft had to get caught up into an ethical/minor criminal scandal to poll worse than John Kasich has. I think by now even Dick Celeste’s numbers were starting to improve at this point in his term. John Kasich remains the most unpopular first-term Governor in Ohio history. With the SB 5 referendum vote only three and half months away, it’s getting harder and harder to see how Kasich can avoid receiving an overwhelming stinging rebuke from the voters, too.
The Building a Better Ohio campaign has their work cut out for them. It’s still possible that SB 5 can survive a referendum vote, but time is starting to become a scarce resource and the mountain they have to climb is becoming increasingly steeper. That’s kind of the opposite of what a campaign supposedly staff with Ohio’s best and brightest Republican political operatives should be achieving right now. If I were them, I’d start airing ads as soon as possible.
As for Kasich’s budget, I expect opposition to increase as people start seeing local government and spending cuts becoming quite real thanks to the Kasich budget. We’ll see. On the other hand, I honestly would have thought that Kasich’s approval rating would have broken 40% by now as I thought time has allowed anger over SB 5 to cool down some. Clearly, that was wrong.
Seven months into his term, Kasich’s approval rating seems to be stuck in the 30s while his disapproval rating has doubled. He’s going to need to do something drastic over the next year to turn things around, or he might single-handedly jeopardize not only his party’s control over the Ohio House, but his party’s prospects in winning the White House next year.