New York City billionaire developer Donald Trump has been leading the GOP league all summer, and continues to do so into the fall, according to all recent polls. Had Ohio’s governor enjoyed similar rankings since his announcement for the White House back in early July, Camp Kasich would believe they’d died and gone to heaven.
Unfortunately, heaven is still far, far away as new polls show little difference for Mr. Kasich from his old poll numbers. Starring in the face of persistent, low, single digit ratings is clearly not the mirror-mirror-on-the-wall scenario the former Fox News TV star and Lehman Brothers banker was hoping would be his story of hope and inspiration by now.
Leading From Behind
If Mr. Kasich thinks he’s leading, he’d better take a good look because it’s definitely from behind, way behind. Were he actually ahead of his GOP challengers, Camp Kasich would be trumpeting it as proof he’s so shaken up the system—one of his chief claims about why his brand is the best brand—that even the Lord is finally coming around to champion the prickly term-limited governor as the GOP’s next great hope to wrest control of the White House from another Democrat.
And Ohio media, which generally aided and abetted the governor’s low-turnout-election big win last year, would be joyful that the politician who really doesn’t like them, and showed it on more than one occasion last year, was the hands-down favorite of individual state or national voters.
But Mr. Trump, the bombastic showman and deal maker media continues to say can’t stay elevated despite one poll after another refuting their dreams, continues to lead by very wide margins, as the most recent polling by CBS poll shows.
Mr. Trump continues to lead the field nationally with 27 percent of Republican primary voters with retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson following in second place at 21 percent. All other Republicans are in single digits. Gov. Kasich, who said he’ll move on or go home depending on how he places in New Hampshire come February 9, shares a lowly two percent with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
Gaining momentum are Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is now in third place with nine percent, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio with eight percent. CBS polling shows businesswoman Carly Fiorina and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush follow at six percent each.
Even when Republican voters are asked who would be their second choice for the nomination, Kasich still wasn’t on their radar. Meanwhile, Ben Carson at 20 percent and Florida Senator Marco Rubio at 18 percent were the most mentioned candidates.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released last Monday indicated Kasich has serious problems. Only 6 percent of Republican primary voters in New Hampshire say they support Kasich compared to 21 percent for Trump, 16 percent for Fiorina, 11 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and 10 percent for Carson. And this poor showing comes after Ohio’s Music Man governor has spent $5 million and more in promoting himself to Granite State voters that includes non-partisan voters, too.
Even worse for Mr. Kasich, who crows about signing up long-time New Hampshire political power players, his support is eroding despite his cash infusion to buy goodwill there. A poll released in early September by the same polling group showed the crusty Kasich with 12 percent of the vote in New Hampshire.
A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found Kasich trailing Trump by 10 points in Ohio, where he promised voters in 2010 that if elected he’d be a firewall against a second term for President Obama. Earlier Q-polling had Kasich winning handily in his home state, which prompted Peter Brown, Q-poll’s assistant director, to say that “the Ohio governor’s campaign is going in the wrong direction.”
A long-time apologist for Ohio Republicans, John Green of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said what he had to say to paper over the governor’s sinking performance numbers. “It’s too early to write Kasich off,” he said, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Ed Holdgate in New Hampshire hasn’t heeded Green’s call to not write Kasich off. Holdgate may be on the right track about why Camp Kasich is irritated their hard-right leader is doing so poorly. In his letter, which did write off the to the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, NH, Mr. Holdgate said career, establishment politicos like John Kasich, whose turned nearly 40 years in the business of politics into as much as $22 million in worth, can’t be trusted anymore.
“John Kasich, you are probably one of the better GOP Establishment candidates. In the Bad Old Days, when we NH conservatives were desperate for candidates, you would have been in consideration. However, John, you are still a complete decades-long ( 9 terms in the US House of Reprehensible! ) Washington Insider in an age where we have many good-to-great Outsiders with backbones finally mounting an insurrection against the GOP Machinery Karl Rove and his ilk constructed. GOP Insiders cannot be trusted anymore. So my conclusion: Disqualified. Bye bye, John.”
Camp Kasich is shifting gears because its campaign cruise control isn’t producing results. “Gov. John Kasich has the strongest team in New Hampshire and is laying the groundwork to win this primary and go on to defeat Hillary. With your support, we can keep growing our grassroots team in the key primary states we’ll need to win.”
Strategists for Camp Kasich are trying to adjust. A report by the Cincinnati Enquirer notes Gov. Kasich’s New Day for America PAC will “shift from the experience-laden biographical ads that fueled Kasich’s early rise in polls in New Hampshire, home to the nation’s first 2016 primary.”
Noting Kasich’s polling has cooled since his non-newsworthy presence at the CNN debate performance last month, Camp Kasich leaders Matt Carle and Matt David said, “Messaging will share John Kasich’s reputation as someone who has always shaken up the system to fix big problems. Unlike the other candidates in the field, whom Gov. Kasich has called ‘speechmakers,’ Kasich has challenged business as usual in Washington and Ohio politics and actually has something to show for it.”
Kasich Bus Rolls Over Some
Of course, the governor’s new, shiny bus touring New Hampshire only reminds people who follow him of his statement early in his first term that anyone not on his bus would be run over by it. Gov. Kasich won’t be actually driving this bus, but metaphorically the symbol couldn’t be more perfect for how he runs over some who dare to get in his way.
But when Gov. Kasich does speak, he’s manages to shake things up but in the wrong way. Mr. Kasich was caught telling an audience member at a meeting in his adopted State of New Hampshire that he would “get over” cuts to Social Security.
“We can’t balance a budget without entitlement reform. What are we, kidding?” Kasich said in his patented dismissive, condescending tone when asked about entitlement [Social Security] reform. Exaggerating his role in Washington politics during his 18 years there as a Congressman from a reliably conservative district in central Ohio, Mr. Kasich said he had a plan to change Social Security that would lower initial benefits for individuals not yet near eligibility.
Reports said Ohio’s governor asked audience members to raise their hands if they were far from receiving Social Security, then asked them if they knew yet what their initial benefit would be and then asked them if they would be bothered if it were a little lower for the good of the country.
One person said it would be a problem. Woe unto him, as Mr. Kasich, whose net worth is upwards of $22 million not including his anticipated bounty in future Social Security payments, said, “Well, you’d get over it, and you’re going to have to get over it.”
Kasich To Reveal First Plan
Reports indicate Gov. Kasich will tell the world of his first policy proposal this Thursday, the same day his fundraising report will be available. According to The Columbus Dispatch, a newspaper whose coverage is equivalent to endorsing the governor for president, said the event description reads “Join Ohio Gov. John Kasich as he presents his ideas for tearing down Washington’s big-government barriers to job creation, balancing the budget, cutting taxes and taking our power and money back to where we live in our states and communities.”
If after spending millions of dollars to introduce and advertise himself he’s mired in low single digits, pundits and political reporters can only wonder how much lower he can go if he actually released a detailed plan on any topic, which to date he’s refused to do. Kasich PR handlers say the right time to tell voters what the governor will do is still off in the future.
As Ohio voters know, what the governor says before an election, and what he does after elected, are very different. So beware what the Music Man governor promises when campaigning because once in office, John Kasich will do what he wants to do, not what voters elected him to do.