PPP released a couple of in-depth polls last week, with quite the topline: FitzGerald is leading 38-35 among registered voters.

As always, the internals are where the action is. This is a very bad poll for John Kasich. I’ll cut to the chase: his support has cratered among women and independents. I wonder why?

Ohio Budget Infographic

Obviously this is only one poll, and PPP is a progressive group. But bear in mind that their final Ohio poll in 2010 was off by 1, and their final poll in 2012 was off by 2. Both were among the most accurate polls of Ohio.

We’ll start by comparing that 2010 poll to the 2013 poll. First, what kind of electorate are we looking at?

PPP Party ID 2010 2012 2013
Democrat 43% 43% 42%
Republican 37% 35% 36%
independent 20% 22% 22%

Of the same electorate1 that voted 49% for Kasich in 2010, only 35% are certain to vote for him now. That’s… bad.

For reference, the Ohio that reelected Obama was 8 points more Democratic than Republican.

From here on out, I’ll be listing the R-D score. So, 49% – 47% is a GOP lead, and 47%-52% is a Dem lead. Also, “gap” will mean “difference between male lead and female deficit”.

This is how self-identified independents2 responded in the past 3 cycles:

  2010 2012 2013
independents 56% – 38% 49% – 47% 31% – 40%
gap R + 18 R + 2 D + 9

Winning independents by 18 points got Kasich a narrow victory in 2010. Does he really want to see what happens if FitzGerald takes them by 9 points?

Now, Party ID, which changes from day to day, isn’t the best way to judge a poll, though. Let’s look at some demographic breakouts to see where Kasich is losing his support.

gender 2010 2012 2013
women 46% – 51% 44% – 54% 28% – 37%
men 55% – 44% 49% – 50% 44% – 39%

The 3-year incumbent only has the vote of 28% of women.

Look a little further into Kasich’s problem with women. PPP also asked about possible 2016 matchups with Hillary Clinton. Not only does she fare best against Kasich, but here is the gender gap against each GOP candidate:

Bush Christie Kasich Ryan Paul
women 31% – 56% 33% – 48% 28% – 60% 30% – 57% 30% – 55%
gap D + 25 D + 15 D + 26 D + 20 D + 15

Kasich is the least popular Republican among women.

Even among statewides, Kasich is the least popular Republican among women.

Kasich Mandel Husted DeWine
approval (women) – 12% – 14% + 5% + 29%
gender gap D + 14 D + 6 D + 4 R + 11
file photo: Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel

file photo: Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel

While Mandel is less popular, he’s also 8 points underwater with men. It isn’t a gendered thing; Ohioans just don’t like Josh Mandel.

See how people approve of Mike DeWine? That’s Steubenville. That’s the power of Doing a Passable Job and Not Being Horrifyingly Misogynistic All Day Every Day.

Among women, Kasich is running about 10 points behind every other Republican (both national and state). And why is that?

Do you support or oppose the abortion restrictions John Kasich signed into law this summer3? yes no difference
women 28% 38% – 10%
men 42% 43% + 1%

(drops mic)

While we’re on the topic of “constituencies that vote Democrat because every GOP candidate is openly horrible to them”, let’s look at African-American responses. This, honestly, is what should really terrify the GOP.

Kasich Mandel Husted DeWine
deficit among African-Americans – 49% – 36% – 54% – 40%
ethnic gap D + 52 D + 37 D + 64 D + 63

Among African-Americans, Jon Husted is the least popular Republican. It’s almost as though voters are not as stupid as Republicans think they are.

If this is indeed a reaction to voter suppression, the statewide GOP is screwed. They have basically no hope without a completely demoralized electorate, because they can’t expand their base beyond this poll:

  Democrat Republican
Kasich 10% 68%
FitzGerald 61% 9%
undecided 29% 23%

The undecided voters in this poll were Democrats.  Barely a third of respondents had formed an opinion of FitzGerald. That means that, as they make up their minds, they’re going to break toward FitzGerald.

And FitzGerald is already ahead.

Now, this is only one poll, and the trends may not hold. But it clearly shows that the budget took a giant toll in Kasich’s reelection chances.


1 There’s some chance that the ethnic breakdown factors into this. Counting the final 2012 poll, we get:

2010 2012 2013
white 85% 83% 80%
African-American 11% 12% 11%
other 4% 5% 8%

The polling sample is 5% less white than the 2010 electorate and 4% “other”-ier. That may reflect demographic trends, or it may be an error on the part of PPP.

Of course, white respondents only break to Kasich by 3 points. In 2010 he won white voters by 11 points.

It’s also noteworthy-but-sketchy that the 2013 respondents say they voted for Obama by 47%-45%. This leads me to believe that the sample is probably slightly more conservative than the 2012 electorate.

2 Moderates are noteworthy too, but it isn’t apples-to-apples so I’m putting it in a footnote. In 2010, PPP used a 3-point scale and in 2012 switched to a 5-point scale (Very Liberal-Somewhat Liberal-Moderate-Somewhat Conservative-Very Conservative).

2010 2012 2013
Moderates 33% – 65% 36% – 63% 20% – 47%

If Kasich splits the undecided Moderates, he’ll be as popular as Romney was. Of course, a little demon in his ear is saying “give up on Moderates and increase Conservative turnout!”

I also want to point out that “Very Liberal” respondents were more supportive of Republicans than Moderates were. This tells me that a number of conservatives claimed to be Very Liberal to mess with PPP.

If that’s the case, then the poll overstates Kasich’s support, albeit only very slightly.

3 Here’s why this is really, really bad for Kasich. Men, who aren’t directly affected, have already made up their mind. A third of women are yet to make up their minds, which means that they will be affected and then make up their minds.

Even if they don’t get an abortion this year or notice higher school fees and sales/property taxes, they’ll likely face higher costs for their annual exam–or else they’ll face no costs for their annual exam, thanks to Obamacare. And then they’ll make up their minds.