John Kasich had a pretty great poll come out yesterday, with lots of interesting internals.

I’m going to assume that the Governor’s budget is the main driver of movement in the poll, though there’s also 1) local budgets, 2) shifting party identification, and 3) a lack of Obama ads for the first time in eons.  Sure enough, Obama’s approval rating within the sample has swung 5 points, mainly among white independents.

In the long run, though, Kasich’s support is based on superficial understanding of his tax hike and the Medicaid expansion.  Unless Kasich gets all of the credit for Medicaid, that support will dry up.

Kasich approval

First, let’s look at Kasich 2.28 vs. Kasich 12.11:

Feb Dec difference Feb Dec difference
Approve 53 42 11 Rep 85 71 14
Disapprove 32 35 -3 5 12 -7
DK/NA 14 23 -9 10 17 -7
Men 58 44 14 Dem 25 21 4
33 37 -4 59 57 2
9 19 -10 16 21 -5
Women 49 39 10 Ind 56 39 17
32 33 -1 30 34 -4
19 27 -8 14 27 -13

What this tells me is that 9% of respondents stopped watching the presidential election and started looking at the Governor’s budget, and they liked what they saw.  Another 4% of people who disapproved in December now approve of the Governor.

The legislature, on the other hand, is underwater at 39%/42%, well behind Kasich, running 18 points behind in Republicans and Independents.  That would indicate that people like something that Kasich has done, but the legislature hasn’t yet done:  namely, the Medicaid expansion.

Further pointing to Medicaid’s popularity:  “Kasich’s handing of the budget” runs 15 points behind his overall approval rating.

We see the real movement when we look at demographics:

Feb Dec difference Feb Dec difference
<50K 52 38 14 18-34 yrs 52 31 21
29 33 -4 31 26 5
19 29 -10 16 42 -26
50K-100K 56 41 15 35-54 yrs 53 38 15
35 41 -6 36 35 1
9 17 -8 11 27 -16
>100K 55 50 5 55+ yrs 55 42 13
41 37 4 31 41 -10
4 13 -9 14 16 -2
White 57 44 13 College 50 47 3
31 34 -3 42 40 2
12 22 -10 8 13 -5
Black 30 27 3 No college 55 40 15
43 44 -1 29 34 -5
27 29 -2 17 27 -10

26% more 18-34 year olds have an opinion of the governor, and 21% of them like what they see.  10% fewer seniors disapprove of the Governor.  The same goes for those without a college degree.

Mind you, these are the folks who are going to get a $100 tax cut and pay 5% more for basically every service.  Think they’ll stay supportive as they learn about the tax hike?

The tax hike

Once Quinny started asking about the tax hike, things got interesting!  Here are those seniors:

Budget Sales Tax Legal services
Seniors 52 41 34
36 49 55
13 10 11

Saying that Kasich wants to tax “tickets, haircuts, lobbyists, and legal services” turns 18% of seniors against his budget.  I’m guessing that if Kasich approval were asked after the tax question, it would be a lot lower!

Meanwhile, here are 18-34 year olds:

Budget Sales Tax Legal services
18-34 yrs 33 36 43
45 50 47
22 14 10

Young people like the sales tax more than they like the budget at large, even more so when you list “things that young people don’t use”.

Clearly we need to tell seniors that Kasich wants to raise their legal services, and tell young people that he wants to raise their bank fees, parking, movie tickets, and closing costs on a house.  But we need to do it.  Write a letter to your editor!  Mention legal services!  The Enquirer won’t do it by themselves.

The beauty of the tax hike is that everything gets taxed.  All we have to do is go to Joe the Voter, guess a service that he uses, and bingo!  That service costs 5% more.


Quinny asked about Medicaid, too.  It’s popular (48-42), whereas Obamacare isn’t (39-48).  That movement comes entirely from Republicans and Independents, though 15% of African-Americans don’t have an opinion of Obamacare.

Here’s Medicaid:

Medicaid Obamacare difference
<50K 56 39 -17
36 42 6
8 19 11

For people earning under $50K, Obamacare is the Medicaid expansion.  But 33% think it will hurt them personally, and this is the same across age groups.

Look.  These folks will be helped by Obamacare, as long as we make it clear that “Medicaid expansion = Obamacare”.  So don’t fear Obamacare.  In a year, it’ll be polling more like Medicaid does now.

The 33% of lower-income Ohioans who think Obamacare is going to hurt them are going to completely change their opinion by November 2014, because Obamacare will be helping them at that point!  And if it isn’t, it will likely be Kasich’s fault.


It’s a good poll, but facts on the ground will turn around those numbers.  Kasich won’t be able to keep Medicaid distinct from Obamacare in voters’ minds, and young people will notice when the cost of everything goes up (but their paycheck doesn’t).

Of course, he’ll try to do both of those.  We can overwhelm him by 1) messaging around the tax hike, 2) using “Obamacare” and “Medicaid” interchangeably, and 3) using the brand and resources of the Democratic Party to get people enrolled in Obamacare.

  • dmoore2222

    He better enjoy it while it lasts because the closer we get to re-election time the more people are going to realize we could be stuck with this imbecile for another four years. The sales tax broadening will definitely be a helpful reminder.

  • TJsClone

    Meanwhile, in the Columbus Disgrace a news item (not an editorial) breathlessly compares him to “the Gipper” Ronald Reagan, and gushes about how this will be just like 1984 (no pun intended).

  • anastasjoy

    What this shows me is that voters at this point are confused or low-information. How can they approve of the governor but not the legislature? The governor pretty much drives his stooges in the legislature unless they put the brakes on his worst ideas. But seriously — who are these people who “approve” of a budget that continues to underfund their local services, takes money away from their school systems, and increases not just their sales taxes but in many cases will (or already has) increase their property taxes? It seems to me people are aware of what the governor is up to. It will be up to our candidate, whoever he (or she) is, to run a crisp, focused campaign telling them what Kasich has taken from them and wants to take from them in the future.

  • Progressives also need to do a better job of talking about that elephant in the room. Ohioans should be OUTRAGED that Kasich’s initiatives come directly from the corporate-driven American Legislative Exchange Council, yet many still haven’t grasped the profound depth of ALEC’s control over our governor and his regiment. Research ALEC, and spread the word!

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