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