Here’s what John Kasich got going into the first GOP President debate:
- Weeks of uncritical, polite coverage that candidates normally get shortly after announcing their running for President when they’re already polling 3% -4% nationally;
- A record 24 million Fox News viewers taking their first serious look at the 59% of the field (for all the talk about how great it was for Kasich to make the debate, Fox’s criteria allowed 10 of the 17 candidates to participate in the main event.)
- A debate held in Ohio, cosponsored by the Ohio Republican Party (thus controlling tickets), and thus, a heavily favored Kasich home GOP crowd that wildly cheered his moral defense of what is, essentially, the very same Affordable Care Act that Kasich ran in ’10 on stopping entirely.
- A punditry class willing to give Kasich a low bar to declare him the sleeper, dark horse candidate to rival Trump and Bush before the debate even happened and was quick to pick two segments of the six total minutes he spoke altogether to claim again after the debates that Kasich would show immediate benefit from his debate performance.
Here’s what Kasich actually got from the debates in public opinion polling since:
- Jack squat. He’s actually getting overshadowed by former HP exec Carly Fiorina. Which is remarkable when the guy who (falsely) claims to have been responsible for creating 350,000 jobs is being overshadowed by a candidate from the “kiddie table” debate who’s known for killing 30,000 American jobs before, you know, losing her own.
According to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, a review of all available polling shows absolutely no movement for John Kasich among national GOP voters. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Non-existence. Flat as the Iowa cornfields Kasich refuses to follow. You get the picture.
Seven national surveys have come out since the debates, using different methodologies and some with competing allegations of partisan bias. They all said the same thing: Fiorina, who has not spent much money in her race is surge. John Kasich is staying flat.
Yes, the New Hampshire poll shows a three-point bounce, but his SuperPAC has reported spent nearly $4 million in ads with no response ads and very little from ads from competing candidates (I believe Christie is the only other candidate that is running ads in the New Hampshire market.) Kasich has also spent a majority of the time since he’s announced campaigning hard in New Hampshire. Polls from Public Policy Polling and CNN both show that Kasich has no movement in Iowa since the debates. So it would seem to be that the Kasich surge in Ohio is the national exception, not the rule. And given the level of spending and candidate time to get that result, it’s not one they can likely sustain. Lest we forget the $100 million warchest that Jeb Bush has yet to tap into. Bush may have just stuck his head out in the game of poorly funded GOP contenders of whack-a-mole.
Even worse, Carly is surging in Iowa, New Hampshire, and nationally on nothing more than earned media and within the margin of error of Kasich in NH, his must-win state to become a viable nominee. As FiveThirtyEight warned that “Kasich could be in danger of falling out of the top tier in the next debate, hosted by CNN, if the Fiorina surge continues.”
Incidentally, the 3% national polling average John Kasich has now is right where he was polling in 1999… when he dropped out of the presidential race.