The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brent Larkin, apparently, is a John Kasich fanboy, who is quick to dismiss the nearly ‘06 Ken Blackwellian beating Kasich’s Issue 2 took in the polls last week.  And he’s utterly convinced that Kasich’s agenda isn’t unpopular, just that Kasich personally is:

On many major issues of the day, Kasich still has the right message. Big problems, which Ohio has, require bold solutions.

Boldness doesn’t scare Kasich the way it has scared most Ohio governors.

So if it’s not the message, it must be the messenger.

Whaaat?!?  Logical syllogism fail.  Look, there are other ways to have a “bold agenda” than Kasich’s agenda.  Simply because Larkin believes Kasich has the “right message” and that Ohio needs bold solutions, he concludes that voter opposition to Kasich can’t possibly be due to the message.  Even after more people voted against the message of John Kasich in 2011 than voted for the messenger in 2010.

Larkin suffers from the Cult of Frank Luntz’s focus group school of political philosophy that believes voters are generally morons, who are never persuaded by policy, but only more trivial notions like who they’d have a beer with.  To Larkin, it is virtually impossible to believe that Kasich is unpopular because he’s an asshole and his policies stink.  Larkin must honestly believe that had Kasich honed his presentation, but kept the same policies, he’d have a 60% approval rating by now.

The first clue came a year ago, when Kasich beat incumbent Ted Strickland by fewer than 100,000 votes in an election he should have won by at least a quarter-million.

Says who?  Seriously, what orifice does Larkin pull this claim from?  We get it, you didn’t like Governor Ted Strickland.  Your anti-Strickland screeds during his entire term made that perfectly clear, Brent.  But you’re in short company there.  The rest of Ohioans really didn’t have a huge problem with Strickland, who left office with a roughly 45% approval rating that Kasich has yet to come close to reaching.  In fact, at least one reputable national poll outfit (which accurately predicted the spread on Issue 2) finds that Strickland would crush Kasich in a rematch by eighteen points.

Strickland didn’t have the reputation, but he was able to do some very “bold” things in Ohio, like Ohio’s alternative, renewable energy portfolio, creating a forward-thinking energy policy for the State that didn’t rely predominately on coal and fracking.  He was able to institute teacher merit pay in half the school districts in Ohio through the Race to the Top, which wasn’t as controversial as Kasich’s plan because Strickland developed it in a collaborative effort bringing labor and management together while providing districts with the additional funds to meet his mandates of innovation.  The Centers of Innovation throughout the State is the strategy Kasich has largely adopted and rebranded under his new JobsOhio partnership with local Chambers.  Eric Fingerhut, Chancellor of the Board of Regents under Strickland, created the University System of Ohio that sought to bring Ohio’s competing colleges and universities into a cohesive system that focused on regional needs and economic development.

Strickland wasn’t considered “bold” by Larkin because he was able to sell his agenda in a bipartisan manner, and didn’t create the headline-dominating controversies Kasich has.  But boldness is not measured in the public outrage and opposition it generates.

Furthermore, there’s plenty of public polling data to refute Larkin’s nonsense.  Earlier this year, Quinnipiac showed that Kasich’s proposals to privatize prisons and the turnpike were largely unpopular, and lately, the Quinnipiac Poll has shown that voters largely disapprove of Kasich’s budget.

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But that’s not all. The Ohio AFL-CIO has leaked to the Huffington Post a copy of the last Issue 2 poll of likely voters done in the campaign for the We Are Ohio side.  Yes, this is an union-sponsored campaign poll, but Hart Research Associates is a very well-respected poll outfit, who must be able to produce frank and accurate polls in order to give campaigns the guidance they need to make strategic decisions, and it was not released to the public until after the election.  (It also nailed the predicted actual vote on Issue 2, and if anything shows Kasich’s approval rating being higher than other public polls have shown.)

It found that after being told of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry’s support of Issue 2, roughly half of the electorate was less likely to vote for them next year in the ‘12 Presidential race as a result.  When asked for the job approval of the state legislature, voters gave it a 38% approval to a 51% disapproval rating, with “Strongly Disapprove” constituting the largest segment of voter sentiment getting 37% of the responses.  (In other words, just as many people strongly disapprove of the legislature as strongly and somewhat approve combined.)  Again, this would suggest that opposition to Issue 2 had nothing to do with personality as Mitt Romney has none, and that’s all Rick Perry apparently has going for him.

60% of Ohioans in the poll said that if Issue 2 was defeated, then the legislature should abandon it rather than revisit the issue and try to pass something similar again.  56% said they were less likely to vote for an incumbent legislator who voted to pass a version of SB 5 again after Issue 2 was defeated.  After all, the defeat of Issue 2 has a stronger mandate than Kasich got, and nobody outside of Shannon Jones seemed to run in 2010 with any mention of collective bargaining reform.  Unless someone can present polling data otherwise, it’s hard to see the kind of rejection we saw in Issue 2 and read a mandate for the legislature to try again.  Voters, apparently, meant to permanently kill the issue and urge the legislature to move on.

It would seem, from the mountain of public polling data and the results of Tuesday’s election, that opposition to Issue 2 was driven by policy considerations, not personality.  If Brett Larkin can present evidence to the contrary, he would have to support his ridiculous column.  The notion that Issue 2 would have passed if Kasich would have just asked organized labor to kindly go die in a fire is absurd.  It’s the work of deluded supporters of Kasich who cannot comprehend that they are part of a small minority and are trying to rationalize that the rest of Ohio either voted for superficial reasons (they don’t like Kasich personally, and aren’t making a policy judgment) or that the rest of Ohio was somehow duped.

It’s the arrogance of a minority that can’t comprehend why John Kasich, a guy who wasn’t even given a mandate when he won a year ago, could be rebuked by voters on a policy proposal so controversial that Kasich didn’t mention it at all until after the election because Kasich knew it would have cost him the election had he announced his intentions sooner.

 
  • i dislike kasich and i dislike what he tried to do to the people of ohio. i was shocked when he was voted in.  we had a good governor in ted strickland and the voters im sure regret voting him out. the voters are not morons . they sometimes do not pay attention until its to late. im sure they will not let that happen again. i wish we could get rid of kasich to. that would be a good day

  • Anonymous

    What else is to be expected from the GOPlain Dealer, in the pages of which two days after election day, Kevin O’Brien was calling for a Republican re-write of SB5. The sentence in this post, “To Larkin, it is virtually impossible to believe that Kasich is unpopular because he’s an asshole and his policies stink” actually caused me to laugh aloud.

  • Anastasjoy

    I barely know what to say in response to this post because the original column is so muddle-headed, contradictory and lacking in solid underpinning. For one thing, I completely disagree with Larkin’s contention, which echoes the infamous Plain Republican endorsement of Kasich last fall, that the main thing Ohio needs is “boldness.” As that editorial said, Kasich can just as easily talk himself off a cliff. What Ohio needs are sane, practical solutions that don’t cause unneeded divisiveness. What Ohio needs is what Ted Strickland was doing. Kasich’s so-called “boldness” is illusory. It’s not related to the creativity of his solutions but rather to his bull-headed willingness to make enemies by bulldozing opposition and refusing to listen to those who disagree with him. I guess that is sort of “bold,” but when it comes to solving the state’s problems, it’s also stupid. Larkin, Kasich has talked himself off that cliff your paper feared he would.

    I cannot think of any issue on which Kasich has the “right message.” His policy “messages” are almost all encased in rigid ideology that ignores the real needs of Ohio and its citizens. Almost everything that is a pet cause of his is something that is most likely bad for most Ohioans.

    And the contention that Kasich should have won by a quarter million votes shows Larkin has officially taken up residence in Cloud Cuckooland. In what world? In the real world, Kasich should have LOST. In a world where voters were paying attention, where grumbly Democrats weren’t upset because Strickland didn’t do enough for some pet cause of theirs, where the media called out Kasich for things like saying he wouldn’t reveal his budget priorities until Election Day as they certainly would have done had Strickland uttered that insulting absurdity, then Kasich would have had no chance at all. I cannot think of a set of circumstances under which Kasich “should” have won by a quarter million votes.

    And I always like to remind people that this is the same Brent Larkin who has lunch with his buddy Stevie LaTourette and has in the past allowed LaTourette’s input to shape editorial. What a reliable source.

  • Anastasjoy

    The voters are not morons, but they are fighting an uphill battle with papers like the Plainly Republican and the Disgrace colluding to conceal critical information about people like Kasich in order to get them elected.

  • Czar Kashitch I got through the gate with fewer than 20% of all eligible Ohio voters. But he thought the Koch brothers anointed him God on Earth. I’m not really sure how you get around that level of self-delusion.

  • Rgtmwlly

    The Governor’s job is tied to job creation. Ted Strickoand fiddled while 400,000 jobs fled Ohio and he lost his pay and pension because of it. John Kasich will lose his too if he doesnt keep his promises about jobs. Plan and simple.

  • John

    http://ateacheronteaching.blogspot.com/2011/11/communists-take-over-ohio-and-defeat.html

    The night of the election I got on Kasich’s Facebook page to find out what his supporters were saying.  Thank god:  they warned us all the commies were taking over Ohio.

  • This is really rule!

  • This is really rule!

  • To be fair, across the statewide ballot, Cordray was the only other candidate to come within 400000 votes of the GOP candidate, and he wasn’t technically running a “re-election” campaign. The massive anti-incumbent sentiment in November 2010 should have given Kasich a half-million vote head start. Larkin is saying that Kasich nearly blew an election that a monkey in a GOP t-shirt would have won. So, you can look at it in one of two ways: in 2010, Kasich should have won by more than double the final margin, or, in any year but 2010, Kasich loses by half a million votes. The big problem with Larkin’s analysis is exactly what this post is pointing out – Larkin thinks that Kasich would have come in with more than 50% of the vote if they really understood what Kasich was trying to do for Ohio, but the rest of us think that Kasich would not have won the election at all if voters really understood what Kasich wanted to do to Ohio.

  • To be fair, across the statewide ballot, Cordray was the only other
    candidate to come within 400000 votes of the GOP candidate, and he
    wasn’t technically running a “re-election” campaign. The massive
    anti-incumbent sentiment in November 2010 should have given Kasich a half-million vote head start.
    Larkin is saying that Kasich nearly blew an election that a monkey in a
    GOP t-shirt would have won. So, you can look at it in one of two ways:
    in 2010, Kasich should have won by more than double the final margin,
    or, in any year but 2010, Kasich loses by half a million votes. The big
    problem with Larkin’s analysis is exactly what this post is pointing out
    – Larkin thinks that Kasich would have come in with more than 50% of
    the vote if they really understood what Kasich was trying to do for
    Ohio, but the rest of us think that Kasich would not have won the
    election at all if voters really understood what Kasich wanted to do to
    Ohio.

  • Anonymous

    For a change you have said something that is only about ¾ wrong – I agree that Kasich will loose his job, but the rest of your zombie mumbling is your typical GOP claptrap.

  • Anonymous

    It’s kind of hard to say that Strickland “fiddled” when Ohio’s unemployment dropped fourteen straight months shortly after the recession ended, a feat virtually no other State achieved after the recession and Ohio hasn’t achieved since 1983… under Democratic Governor Dick Celeste.  The Fed found that Ohio was the sixth fastest growing economy in the nation last year. 

    Under Kasich, Ohio has seen that trend reversed with three straight months of rising unemployment followed by the second largest number of job losses in the nation for September (state data for October will be released this month.)  This while economic growth nationally has accelerated.

    Virtually all the jobs “lost” under Strickland occurred during the 08-09 recession.  Nobody could have prevented that.  But Strickland positioned the State for a strong recovery that Kasich wrecked.

  • Anonymous

    I think you meant 40k, not 400k?  Because Strickland was roughly within 70k.

  • great post! i really liked it! thanks!

  • Anonymous

    If Larkin were a horse, and not merely a horse’s ass, he would have been shipped off to a glue factory years ago.

  • Anonymous

    If Larkin were a horse, and not merely a horse’s ass, he would have been shipped off to a glue factory years ago.

  • Even though 70% of Ohioans are against the selling/leasing of the Ohio Turnpike, Kasich & Co. are moving behind the scenes to get it done. These newspapers that continue to support Kasich’s agenda should all have their readers cancel subscriptions so that they’ll get the message. Don’t support companies that continue to rail against us.  Put your political beliefs into action support our friends, not Kasich’s cronies.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Larkin has always been a spokesman for the corporate interests in Cleveland and Ohio.

    You should not be surprised by his opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Modern. Excellent analysis. You guys are the real news since the MSM sold their souls to the devil instead of doing the job to keep the electorate informed.

    It is too bad that more people, didnt vote. Evil flourishes because some good people didn’t vote and some others were misled.

    Looks like all we can do is hurt them in the wallet. They don’t serve the locals.

    Of course they are going to sell off the turnpike, to the lowest bidder. Gives me another reason to not take it. What a waste of tax payers money, as long as the corporations benefit.

  • Anonymous

    You need to change your messaging about merit pay. You are losing that battle.

    Who else are you going to vote for? The R’s will rape, rock and roll you. At least with the Dems you have a chance.

    With the Rs you have 100% of nothing and you better like it.

  • Besides Ted, Rich was the only other candidate….

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t tell me there’s a Czar Kasich II?

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t tell me there’s a Czar Kasich II?

  • Anonymous

    Hate to be “that guy,” but David Pepper only lost by roughly 200k votes, so if you meant 400k, your exceptions are Strickland, Cordray, Pepper, which is over half the statewide ticket (leaving just Treasurer and Secretary of State, unless you included the statewide judicial races.)

  • Actually, as you’re right, I appreciate you being that guy. I somehow misread the auditor results.

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