What a difference spending $5 million or more makes when candidates for president promote themselves as the political equivalent of a new laundry detergent guaranteed to take the stain out while making your clothes whiter and brighter.

You might think that buying goodwill with on-air TV ads instead of earning it on the ground where it counts would be easy, especially in a tiny state like New Hampshire that barely merits two congressional districts but where a lackluster candidate can take off if they place well.

Kasich’s ‘New Hampshire Miracle?’

A world-class exaggerator, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called his first term an “Ohio Miracle.” Maybe the former Fox News TV talk-show host needs to spend many millions more if he wants a “New Hampshire Miracle” to appear before next February 1, when the first-in-the-nation primary state votes.

A slow-walk through the latest polling numbers on which of the 15 active Republican candidates is up and which one is down is revealing. A poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center that surveyed 820 participants by land line and cellular telephone on September 17-23 suggests this might be the case for Kasich.

With the exit of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker from the GOP clown car race, Gov. Kasich has two fewer candidates to contend with, but that could work to his disadvantage, as more critical scrutiny that can’t be laughed away—from his subpar job creation record to the “Chargergate” scandal brewing over billions in misspent money on failed charter schools with more sandwiched inbetween—is directed at him.

The CNN/WMUR 9 Poll, embargoed until Thursday afternoon, reveals that after four months of working the small state, John Kasich’s “New Hampshire Miracle” is still a ways off.

So what has John Kasich bought by spending $5-plus million so far in the Granite State? Certainly not status, as others have breezed past him. Top honors in descending order went to Donald Trump [26%], Carly Fiorina [16%], Marco Rubio [9%] and Ben Carson [9%].

GOP establishment moderates Jeb Bush and John Kasich tied for fifth place at seven percent.

Other Kasich questions:

“Would you say you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him or don’t you know enough about him to say?”
Kasich’s favorables more than doubled from June to September: 20% to 45%. But so did his unfavorables, going from 13% to 24%.

“If the Republican primary for president were held today, which [candidate] would you support for the Republican nomination?”
Kasich’s a winner over the last four months, going from 2% to 7%.

“If the Republican primary for president were held today, which of the following would you support for the Republican nomination ?”
Kasich’s a winner again, but the numbers are the same: 2% four months ago to 7% today.

“Who would be your second choice?”
Kasich’s still stuck in low gear, from 1% in June to 7% in September.

Which candidate “would you NOT vote for under any circumstance?”
Kasich’s a zero, neither positive nor negative.

“Which candidate do you think is most likely to win the New Hampshire Republican primary?”
John Kasich: 3%.

“Which Republican candidate do you think is the most likeable?”
John Kasich: 5%.

“Which Republican candidate do you think has the best chance of winning in the general election next November?”
John Kasich: 1% to 6%

“Which Republican candidate do you think is most conservative?”
John Kasich: His “moderate” brand at 2% isn’t playing well.

“Which Republican candidate do you think is least likely to act like a typical politician if elected President?”
John Kasich: 1%

“Which Republican candidate do you think has the right experience to be President?”
John Kasich: TV ads pay off at 11%

With the thinning of the herd, as Perry and Walker have exited stage right, the remaining brood of Republican White House wannabees might find the room less crowded but more pressure filled. They might also find that with fewer clown cars to cover, the remaining ones can be looked at much closer by media that doesn’t take kindly for being frozen out or bamboozled with basic Kasich balderdash.

The good news for Gov. Kasich is that the Cleveland Plain Dealer keeps the video of him dancing awkwardly up while it keeps the video of him acting like a spoiled, petchulent teenager at an editorial board meeting last fall is down.

More scrutiny on John Kasich, from his 18 years in Congress to his years with Fox News and Lehman Brothers and now to his nearly five years as governor, means Team Kasich has to raise and spend millions more to fabricate a New Hampshire Miracle in the image of his Ohio Miracle.