Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quinny Numbers: Strickland Soaring and Trouble for George

The latest Quinnipiac U poll in Ohio is mostly good news for Governor Strickland. He has a 61% approval rating and a microscopic 15% disapprove of his job performance. One unreported stat: 15% disapprove of Strickland and all those people write conservative blogs (grin.)

Seriously, the numbers reflect a few things. First off is, the Governor's brilliant budget strategy. I've hashed this before but it's worth repeating: The Governor proposed a modest budget that moved the ball on his priorities but carried no deal breakers and didn't exceed his grasp.

Second, I think people understand that we have a Governor who actually has leadership ability, in contrast to the blank space that was Bob Taft. That in itself may be enough to give Strickland an extended honeymoon.

The potentially bad news is the perception of Ohio's economy. Right now the Governor is riding high in spite of the economic problems -- real and perceived -- bedeviling Ohioans. This won't last indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the numbers on the state's U.S. Senators are a study in contrasts. Sherrod Brown and George Voinovich have similar approvals - Brown 44%, Voinovich 45%. But Voinovich's disapproval rating of 34% dwarfs Brown's 19%. Moreover, much of Voinovich's strong disapproval comes from defecting Republicans. 32% of Republicans disapprove of Voinovich, while only 12% of Democrats disapprove of Brown.

Similarly, each Senator has similar approval numbers among Independents -- Brown 41%, Voinovich 40%. But for Brown only 22% of Independents disapprove versus 35% for Voinovich, suggesting that he is weak among both left-leaning and right-leaning Independents. Finally, Voinovich's disapprovals among White Born-Again Evangelical Christians are an ugly 34%.

This confirms my suspicions about a fundamental tension for Republicans. Mike DeWine's loss was evidence that an Ohio Republican needs the right wing of the party to mobilize to win. Ken Blackwell's crushing defeat indicates that the right wing alone can't put an ultra-conservative over the line. And the numbers on Voinovich are the latest indication that the party's right wing is unwilling to compromise on moderate politicians for the sake of winning elections.

All of which is good news for Democrats, but we can't be complacent. The current environment makes it difficult for Republicans to win, but Republicans losing is not the same as Democrats winning. The new crop of statewide officials needs to start notching some real successes if this is to be anything more than a temporary deviation from Ohio's rightward trend.


Chris Baker said...

Who knew that 12% of Ohio Democrats were bloggers.

Ben said...

I would think any Governor that hadnt been involved in some huge controversy would have #s like that at this point, so early in his term.

Agreed, I would say the bulk of the 34% of the disapproval #s for Voinovich are from Republicans like me.