PPP and Quinnipiac seem to have an unspoken agreement that neither shall poll Ohio at the same time. So, it’s hard to aggregated their data together and make trendlines, especially when both polls show sharp differences in the crosstabs. In the last PPP poll in August, it showed Issue 2 with a statistically insignificant lead (two points) in favor of the Issue among independents. Quinnipiac has consistently shown independents as largely in favor of repeal. However, both have shown, starting with the PPP in August the Issue 2 race narrowing. However, it’s been roughly three weeks since Quinnipiac’s last poll came out, so that data is becoming increasingly stale.
Enter today’s PPP poll which shows Ohioans supporting repealing of SB 5 by voting down Issue 2 by a 56%-36% margin, from 50% to 39% in August. Back then, I said that the Better Ohio campaign would repeat and perhaps out do the closing of the gap PPP showed from May (+20 point gap in favor of repeal) to August (+11 point gap in favor of repeal) in the time period from mid-August to early November. Conservatives were quick to tout PPP’s August poll as signs that Ohioans were “wising up” to the deceit of We Are Ohio, etc. and that they had momentum to carry them to victory come November. Instead of continuing to close the gap, the race went the other direction and returned to the twenty point gap PPP showed in May. This could be real movement, or the August result could have just been a statistical blip. Either way, with less than three weeks to go, it looks like Issue 2 is doomed to fail:
With 30% of Republicans in this blue-collar, Rust-Belt state against SB5, and Democrats making up a 47% plurality of voters and his own party only 37%, Kasich cannot rely on turnout alone to prevail. He has to get more of the GOP in line or break the 46-46 tie with independents.
This poll was taken in the midst of “GrannyGate.” Almost all of the movement was on the Democratic side which has further solidified. Kasich, according to the PPP, is now the most unpopular Governor in the nation with a 37%/54% approval/disapproval rating. In a rematch against Ted Strickland, Kasich, who won with a two-point plurality vote, would be CRUSHED by Ted Strickland by fourteen points (54%-40%).
A plurality (40%) of Ohioans do not like the congressional map, and support a referendum to repeal it by a (36%-28%) margin. So Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern can point out that he has public opinion on his side as the party pushes for a referendum to force the legislature to adopt a more competitive congressional map. Right now, the GOP legislative leadership is trying to draw a racial wedge through the party by seeing if they make the “new” Franklin County district more favorable to a minority candidate they can peel off the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and give them the votes they need to pass the map as an emergency measure without no other Democratic support.
One thing that is troubling is that PPP shows Issue 3 the unconstitutional so-called “Health Care freedom constitutional amendment” is favored by 55% to 24%. This says two things: 1) voters have not gotten much information about what Issue 3 is and how it is so broadly drafted it will have a negative impact on other health care rules besides “Obamacare” (and how its stated intention is wholly unconstitutional), and 2) it has done little to help save Issue 2.
Despite differences in the cross tabs, the universe of public polling on Issue 2 has been fairly constant. It’s hard to imagine a surprise on Election Night, so long as Issue 2 opponents don’t become complacent and fail to vote. At this point, it seems like Kasich would be well advised to start to distance himself from Issue 2 and start to lay the groundwork to continue to downplay its importance to his overall agenda. He also needs to give careful thought to the post-Issue 2 political world and how he will respond if the issue is handily defeated in less than three weeks from today.