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Blog Home Page --> Governor -- Ohio

OH Gov Poll: Kasich +9

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) re-election hopes are growing dimmer if the new Rasmussen poll (500 LVs, 12/7, MoE +/- 4.5%) is any indication. The incumbent, who looked safe only a year ago, now trails Republican challenger John Kasich by 9 points in the battleground state.

General Election Matchup
Kasich 48
Strickland 38
Und 11

Job Approval
Obama 46 / 53
Strickland 48 / 50

Kasich's lead was just 46-45 in the previous Rasmussen survey in September. Kasich leads by 2.7 in the RCP Average of Ohio, a reflection of how the tide has seemingly turned in a short time. Rasmussen's take:

Unemployment in Ohio has jumped to 10.5%, the state is wrestling with an $851 million budget shortfall, and Governor Ted Strickland has proposed delaying a tax cut approved in 2005. Add it all together, and it's a tough environment for the incumbent Democratic governor.

OH Gov Poll: Economy Weighs Down Strickland

Economic woes in the Buckeye State put Gov. Ted Strickland in a vulnerable position for 2010, a new Quinnipiac Poll (1,123 RVs, 11/5-9, +/- 2.9%) finds.

General Election Matchup
Strickland 40 (-6 vs. last poll, 9/15)
Kasich 40 (+4)
Don't Know 18 (+3)

Other recent Ohio polls have also found this race a dead heat at this early stage. Strickland, who won his 2006 election by more than 20 points and boasted strong poll numbers early in his term, now sees his approval rating at an all time low, 45 percent, with 43 percent disapproving.

Former Rep. John Kasich still is an unknown quantity to nearly 70 percent of voters, the poll finds, but has pulled into a tie with the incumbent after trailing by 30 points in Quinnipiac's initial matchup in February.

"This race is about Ted Strickland," Quinnipiac's Peter Brown says in the poll release. "Because so few voters have a firm fix on Kasich, the campaign is likely to be a race to define him in the eyes of most voters. That will mean the Strickland campaign will be trying to convince those seven in 10 voters who don't know enough about Kasich that he isn't their kind of guy."

Nearly two-thirds of Ohio voters say they're dissatisfied with the way things are going in Ohio. Just 33 percent approve of how Strickland is handling the economy, a number that's held steady in the last few surveys. Kasich has an 8-point lead now when voters are asked who would do a better job handling the economy and state budget.

In short: add Strickland to the long list of incumbents who will face tougher-than-expected challenges next fall because of the economy.

Strickland Again Absent From Obama Event

For the second straight week, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) was nowhere to be found as President Obama came to Ohio. Today, the president was meeting with auto workers at a GM plant in Warren, giving a pep-talk on the economy.

"As long as I have the privilege of being your president, I'm going to keep fighting for a future that is brighter for this community, and brighter for Ohio, and brighter for the United States of America," Obama said, after highlighting the impact of the Recovery Act.

Last week, Obama was in Cincinnati, giving a fiery speech on health care to a crowd full of union workers. Strickland wasn't there, either. So, with a potentially tough race ahead and Obama's numbers down in the Buckeye State, is the governor keeping his distance? Not so, his office said.

An execution is scheduled in Ohio today, and Strickland's policy "is to remain in his office and available" to prison officials until the execution has occurred. "Had his schedule permitted, the governor definitely would have been with President Obama today," Strickland press secretary Amanda Wurst tells RCP.

As for the Cincinnati event, Strickland chose to go ahead with previously-scheduled personal time that Labor Day weekend, coming at the end of a grueling budget process.

"The governor appreciates that President Obama is highlighting the work being done at the state and federal level to pull Ohio's working families out of the recession that started one year ago today with the collapse of Lehman Brothers," Wurst said.

Continue reading "Strickland Again Absent From Obama Event" »

Ohio Gov Poll: Strickland Numbers Stabilize

Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), whose numbers took a steep drop earlier this summer, now appears to be treading water amid challenging economic times in the Buckeye State. Fourteen months before he stands for re-election his lead has grown to 10 points in a Quinnipiac Poll, but that may be more a result of Republican John Kasich's numbers settling after an announcement boost.

General Election Matchup
Strickland 46 (+3 from last poll, 7/3)
Kasich 36 (-6)
Don't Know 15 (-1)

Strickland Job Approval: 48 / 42

Though his approval number is two points higher, it's still far lower than his all time high from this February, 63 percent. And he's below the 50 percent threshold for any incumbent to feel comfortable at this point. On the economy, only 33 percent approve of his performance, while 54 percent disapprove.

Forty-three percent of voters have a favorable opinion of Strickland, compared to 34 percent who view him unfavorably. Kasich, a former Congressman and Fox News Channel host, is viewed favorably by 22 percent and unfavorably by 10 percent, with 68 percent saying they haven't heard enough.

Asked if they were satisfied with how things were going in Ohio, only 39 percent were very or somewhat satisfied, compared to 60 percent who were somewhat or very unsatisfied. On the question of whether Strickland has kept his campaign promises, 37 percent said yes, 40 percent said no.

The survey of 1,074 Ohio voters was conducted Sept. 10-13, and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

OH Gov: Strickland Slipping Amid Budget Troubles

It's becoming a more common story across the country: governors forced to make unpopular budget decisions taking a hit in the polls. Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) is today's example, as a new Quinnipiac Poll shows his approval ratings continuing to drop and Republicans neck-and-neck in 2010 matchups.

Strickland Job Performance
Approve 46 (-11 from May)
Disapprove 42 (+13)

Strickland's approval rating was as high as 63 percent just five months ago. His favorability number has also slipped, from a net +28 (53/25) to +5 (42/37) since May. Only 33 percent of voters approve of his handling of the economy, with 53 percent disapproving, and 32 percent approve of his handling of the state budget. But voters do support his proposed fix for the state budget, legalizing casino gambling, 60-36 percent.

At this point, former Rep. John Kasich is the only Republican in the race to challenge him. Quinnipiac also polls a potential matchup with former Sen. Mike DeWine.

General Election Matchups
Strickland 43 (-8 from May)
Kasich 38 (+6)
Undecided 16 (unch)

Strickland 41 (-7)
DeWine 40 (+4)
Undecided 15 (+1)

Kasich now leads a potential Republican primary race over DeWine 35-32. DeWine had lead 35-23 in May, before Kasich kicked off his campaign.

The telephone survey of 1,259 voters was conducted June 26-July 1, and had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

OH Gov: Strickland-Kasich A Dead Heat

Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), who boasted strong poll numbers for much of his term, appears now to be suffering politically as the Buckeye State's economy continues to lag. A new poll from Public Policy Polling not only shows his approval rating in the low-40s, but has Strickland only narrowly ahead in a hypothetical matchup against former Rep. John Kasich (R).

General Election Matchup
Strickland 44 (-1 from January)
Kasich 42 (+3)
Undecided 14

Strickland Approval: 43/42

Kasich, who announced his candidacy at the beginning of this month, has a 31 percent favorable rating, compared to 30 percent unfavorable. But 39 percent were unsure of their opinion of the former Columbus-area Congressman, despite his brief exploration of a presidential bid and Fox News Channel television show.

The survey of 619 registered voters was conducted June 17-19, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent.

Kasich: Both Parties To Blame For Ohio's Woes

In 2006, Ted Strickland (D) cruised to the governor's office in Ohio after scandals had crippled the state Republican Party, which controlled the office for 16 years. So it was interesting to hear John Kasich criticize both parties as he launched his campaign today.

"We have to face facts: we've drifted in Ohio, and it hasn't just been one political party," the former Congressman and Fox News Channel host said at a rally in his home town of Westerville, which was streamed live on the Internet.

Specifically, he said that the state hasn't seen new jobs created since 2001 - a period which includes not just Strickland's term, but that of former Gov. Bob Taft (R), who was indicted in the Tom Noe "coingate" scandal that rocked the Ohio GOP.

"Folks: we've been stuck in the past. Where have the visionaries been? Where have the leaders been to say we have to prepare our state for the 21st century?" Kasich asked. "We wake up today and find more auto plants closing. What are we going to do, just sit there and take the hammering?"

Polls show Strickland is still popular in the Buckeye State, and he's considered a slight favorite at this point. Kasich aimed to paint his potential foe as a nice guy but merely a "caretaker" who is ill-equipped to turn the state around.

"If you have a house on the river and the flood's coming, he's gonna show up Saturday morning with a box of donuts and a pot of coffee. You'll sing kumbaya, hold hands, and watch your house float down the river," Kasich said.

Continue reading "Kasich: Both Parties To Blame For Ohio's Woes" »

OH Gov: Kasich Announcing Bid

Former Rep. John Kasich (R) will announce his candidacy for governor of Ohio today at 5 p.m. in his hometown of Westerville, as stated on his campaign website. Cleveland's Plain Dealer reported last week that the event would take place.

Kasich -- a nine-term congressman, FOX News commentator and presidential candidate in the 2000 election -- filed papers for a bid one month ago today. He aims to defeat Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who easily won a first term in 2006 by defeating Republican Ken Blackwell by 23 points. President Obama defeated John McCain in Ohio last year by 5 points.

For more background on Kasich, here is an excerpt from a write-up by Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Salena Zito:

Kasich developed a reputation as a congressman that stood for lower taxes, family values and reduced spending during the heady days of the Newt Gingrich led Republican Revolution. His last few weeks doing the covered-dish detail across the state has shown he has not veered from that plank.

Kasich entered and left the GOP primary for president in 1999 but was an extremely inventive campaigner. In New Hampshire, he rode a dog sled and in Iowa he did a bowling alley crawl to reach voters called "Rolling Through Iowa."

Big Shots Line Up In OH

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican, got thumped in his bid for governor in 2006. Well-financed, well-known and widely respected among Ohio and national evangelical leaders, Blackwell nonetheless garnered a paltry 37% in his bid to replace outgoing Republican Governor Bob Taft. Democrat Ted Strickland, until then a member of Congress whose district stretched along the state's eastern border, won with a massive 61%, virtually unheard of in an open seat contest.

Strickland, who recently helped deliver his state's primary contest to Hillary Clinton, is widely popular and has been widely touted as a vice presidential contender, if not someone with a future of his own at the head of a ticket. But his stature hasn't stopped any of three major Republicans from openly and actively considering a run against him more than two and a half years before he will again face voters.

Few states reacted as strongly against Republicans in 2006 than Ohio, and one of the casualties was then-Senator Mike DeWine. The state's former Lieutenant Governor before his election to Congress' upper chamber, DeWine did little to be fired by Ohio voters other than to have the Republican label after his name. He lost by a wide 12-point margin to now-Senator Sherrod Brown in a race that cost the two a combined $25 million.

DeWine is now considering a comeback against Strickland, though he will have to get through a competitive primary if he decides to make a run. Former House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich, now a Fox News pundit who briefly considered a presidential bid in 2000 before endorsing George W. Bush, told the Columbus Dispatch he is actively laying the groundwork for his own bid. Both potential candidates will make their decision after this year's election.

The two may be joined by a third strong contender, former Rep. Rob Portman, who left the House to serve as United States Trade Representative and then as the chief of the Office of Management and Budget. Portman, who currently seems to be one of conservative columnist Bob Novak's favorite candidates for Vice President, is reportedly also considering a bid (Updated on Saturday: Novak's done it again).

Should the three top Republicans find themselves competing through 2009 and 2010, the contest will largely break down along geographic lines. Portman represented the Second District in Congress, which runs south along the Kentucky border and near the heavily Republican Cincinnati suburbs. Kasich represented the Twelfth District, which sits just north of Columbus, the state's largest city. DeWine's Congressional district, before being elected statewide, was halfway between the two cities. With three strong bases, all three candidates would have to work hard to win over votes from northern Ohio.

It is rare that three such prominent Republicans would line up against each other, but next cycle that very well may happen. Still, the winner of what would surely be a bloody and bruising primary will have no cakewalk come November 2010. Strickland, assuming he's not vice president, will be well-funded and has made few mistakes during his time in office.