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This Either Tells Us Nothing or A WHOLE LOT

This Rasmussen poll (taken July 27, 2006) shows Ken Blackwell 11 points behind Democrat Ted Strickland in Ohio’s governor race. That sounds bad and, certainly, it’s not good news for Blackwell. Or is it? A July 23, 2006 poll done by The Columbus Dispatch showed Blackwell 20 points behind. So either something is terribly wrong with somebody’s polling or Blackwell made a 9 point jump in 4 days. It is still pretty early to be calling this either way--though Blackwell has some unfortunate numbers to overcome in Ohio that really have nothing to do with him (i.e., the popularity or, rather, unpopularity of Taft and Bush).

In the end, however, if it can be done Blackwell is the man to do it. He’s not your run-of-the-mill Republican, after all. My brief visit to the state last week afforded me the opportunity to talk to a number of typical but not necessarily committed GOP voters in the Southeastern portion who expressed deep dissatisfaction with do-nothing, weak-willed Republicans. When I pointed out that Blackwell was not part of that bunch and not really tied to the Taft bunch, they were clearly interested in hearing more. The more people realize that Blackwell is his own man and--more than that--a good man and a serious man, the better Blackwell will do. And if the poll numbers are correct, I am not really surprised to see Blackwell jump 9 points in 4 days. I predict we’ll see more jumping.

Discussions - 20 Comments


I think Southeastern Ohio tends to go Republican in governor’s races, right? Yet, Strickland is from South-Southeast Ohio (you can see his sign on 23 between Lucasville and Portsmouth). I bet he is going to take a lot of normally Republican votes from Southeast Ohio, finally happy to have "one of them" (in the nominal sense probably) in the office. It seems unless Blackwell catches fire in the Northeast of Ohio (a Democrat stronghold I believe) he is doomed.

Is this your take on the issue?

Steve: I think your take ascribes more parochialism to Southeastern Ohioans than I have reason to believe will manifest itself--but I am no expert about their voting patterns. I only know what I know from having lived there most of my life and knowing people who still do live there. I think Blackwell has great potential in Southeastern Ohio if he can distinguish himself from the usual suspects. I met no one who said they would not vote for Blackwell based on any reason that had anything to do specifically with him. There was more of a generalized disgust with the Ohio GOP. It remains to be seen what will actually happen when people have to pull the lever for a Democrat. I don’t think most of these people will be able to do it because they know that whatever the problem, the answer can never be that! I also think Blackwell has greater appeal in the Northeast than the usual Republican because he can speak persuasively about the reasons why black voters should not trust Democrats to do anything to improve the state. Even a small move away from the Dems on the part of black voters would be significant for Blackwell and, in every other statewide election in which he has run, he’s had significantly more of those votes than other Republicans. I think he needs to get his message out there in a more forceful and visible way. I hope we’re seeing the beginnings of that now.

The Dispatch does mail polls -- the same method they used in polling on the election reform ballot questions. They say they’ve stuck with this generally untrustworthy method because it’s been so accurate over the years. But their polling on the election reform ballot questions -- they had the result totally reversed -- shows that it’s not so accurate anymore.

The fine print on the polling shows that there were too many Democratic respondants in the Blackwell poll. So the 20 point lead is no surprise. I wouldn’t count this as a Blackwell surge, but instead a misleading Dispatch poll.

What the Dispatch poll may show is that Democrats in Ohio are more motivated -- maybe in general, or maybe just in answering polls.

On the plus side, though, Blackwell can only go up. He needs to separate himself from the party insiders. Right now he’s running against a generic Democrat, since most people don’t know a thing about Strickland. Right now it’s good to be a generic Democrat, given the scent of corruption around the Republicans. So Blackwell needs to make Strickland something other than a nameless Democrat, but so far he’s not had a lot of success in doing this.

I wouldn’t expect to see much movement until the debates.

Strickland has some monster negatives, and I hope Blackwell does not wait much longer to let people know about them. Perhaps the worst negative in this election cycle is Strickland’s near total ineffectualness as a Congressman. The guy is a handsome non-entity. Blackwell is polling badly against a generic democrat, but let us see how it goes when voters learn just how generic this particular democrat is!

Most people who do not follow the inside baseball do not know how much Taft, Householder, and some of the other establishment Republicans the base are mad at hate Blackwell. I am not sure how you publicize that (boy oh boy! some guys who are jerks hate me!) but man, I hope Blackwell’s campaign figures it out.

One thing to remember about the South-Eastern part of the state -- That’s Vern Riffe Country (east of Portsmouth, and certainly South of where Julie hails).

How many elections did that joker win?

wm, I think you’ve hit on the approach. Instead of just yelling "liberal" at Strickland, why not something like, "It’s very good and honest of my opponent to refuse a pay raise. What has he done to earn one?"

This race is boring. First what do y’all think of Blackwell going to a taft fundraiser upcoming in cbus. Bet he won’t be advertising that. Its also a very bad sign when a candidate advertises a poll with himself down 11. Of course this poll is more accurate than the Dispatch poll--no way the GOP could really be down 20, but still 11 is a huge hill to climb. Barring a meltdown by Strickland, which at this distance he can stay cautious enough to avoid, Blackwell has no chance. With the recent Strickland’s gay mix up this race is looking more and more like Virginia 2005. Like i’ve said for a long time Strickland wins 54-46 and the GOP can finally clean up its OH act.

No way - if Blackwell loses it is in a squeaker - and he is not the problem with the GOP.


I agree with you concerning Blackwell’s chances in the Northeast. I am a bit confused about your analysis of Strickland in the Southeast. If I am not mistaken, Strickland’s Congressional district is in the Southeast portion of the state, along the river and in the "Applichian" portion of the state. Baring fraud, he has won down there for quite some time. Obviously 50% of the voters down there must support him and have no problem "pulling the lever" for a Democrat if they like the guy for whatever reason. Do you think Southeastern Ohio voters differeniate between House of Representative candidates and Governor candidates? Or am I just very confused about Strickland’s district?

While Blackwell’s race may help him in the Northeast, I am afraid to say I think it will hurt him in the Southeast.

*mutters* Coleman’s wife deserves to hang . . .

Steve: Like I said, I’m no expert on the voting patterns of Southeastern Ohio. I just know the greater Zanesville/Cambridge area from growing up there and my friends and family still in the area. I don’t know anything specific about Strickland’s district. But I do know about Ney’s. Many of the same people I talked to who were miffed at Ney have no problem with Blackwell. So I think people differentiate between House elections and the governor’s race at least that much. If anything, I don’t think partisanship is strong enough in that area. People (like my grandmother) tend to pride themselves on their "independence" from political party. Of course, what ends up happening then is a kind of disjointed voting record that is all over the map and based more on a cult of personality than real defined objectives. But that, I think, is less the fault of people like my grandmother than the fault of the political parties--particularly the GOP--to present a unified and coherent front. When your party looks wishy washy, you get wishy washy support.

Blackwell’s negatives don’t only lie with the Republican establishment and Taft’s low poll numbers. His TEL debacle, 65% school funding and Turnpike issues have also drawn criticism from fellow Republicans (not just the Taft crowd) in the media.

I am not unbiased at all.. I don’t like Blackwell one bit - I think he is unethical, that his ideas would hurt Ohio’s economy and schools a great deal, and that he is very deep in the pay-to-play game.

If I try to take an unbiased look just at his campaign, I think he is using a 2004 Karl Rove strategy that just isn’t playing well in Ohio 2006. His swift-boat type strategy against Strickland will go nowhere. Voters are tired of the gossip, "did you hear", type attempts at unfounded character assasination.

They are also putting the "wedge issues" on a back burner. We have real problems with manufacturing job loss, school funding, energy costs, etc. 16 years of Voinovich/Taft (Republican) oversight is being blamed for the current situation.

Ted Strickland seems like the adult to deal with the real problems that Ohioans face while Blackwell seems like the spoiled child that just wants to get his way and will hold his breath until he gets what he wants.

"Ted Strickland seems like the adult to deal with the real problems that Ohioans face"

How so? He has never passed a single piece of legislation in 15 years. He has missed more votes than all but two members of Congress. That is not a record of distinction.

Lieberfan - how so?

Have you met him or heard him speak? I’ve met him and heard him speak and he seems like the real adult to me. Also - anecdotal evidence from people in his that have called his offices for help - they’ve gotten responsive, action based replies.

And, before the right tries to attack his Congressional votes, they might want to remember that Blackwell isn’t even executing the duties of his office, instead he has handed them off to an assistant so he can campaign full time on his tax payer provided salary.

He doesn’t HAVE any Congressional votes to attack. Out of 435 people, he is the 433rd most absent. He is not even trying to do his job. Why should we give him another one?

Nick (12) Manufacturing job losses!?! In Southwest Ohio we can’t find enough manufacturing employees or manufacturing engineers as 20k$/60k$ per year! The reliable ;) Dayton Daily News reports on every plant closing, but their help wanted section keeps growing and not a word is heard about the increase in job offerings... There are more people employed in manufacturing than ever before, and we still need more, and the MSM only reports layoffs and closings. I think most of those laid-off either a) retire early of their own accord. or b) go to work with their previous supplier (eg...Delphi-->GM) and are still skillfully employed but not counted because they are a loss in one month but a gain in the next.

I have heard it is not quite the same north of here but how much different can it be? If you need a job, look down here--relocating isn’t always a bad thing!

That just led me to another realization...40% of Americans own their homes outright, with no mortgage. Maybe there is not much incentive for Ohioans to relocate. Those Snowbird neighbours of yours may be part of the reason Ohio is un-poll-predict-a-ble (seems to lean lib in polls but we know better). Unfortunately for Blackwell, nothing is drawing new young people to the state. Taft’s "3rd new ’let’s put it on the ballot until people pass it just to quit seeing it’ frontier initiative" doesn’t seem to be helping.

I had a cohesive closing thought in my head, but I typed so much (for me) that I forgot what it was. So... As Geddy sings...:

Big Money’s got a mean streak, Big Money’s got no soul....

I just saw a post that sid JKB wasn’t doing his job; he helped get GWB re-elected, what could have been more important?!

Besides, I like seeing a nigger in a suit (or an elected position)!

btw, Aimee Mann rocks!

Exactly - Blackwell isn’t even trying to do his job - and when he did, he did it poorly. Why should we give him another?

Look, if we want to write down all these fearless predictions great. Hasn’t anyone woke up and realized that this isn’t 2004 anymore? The base is demoralized, Taft and scandals have tanked us with independents. What are we counting on...the Dems?

And its simply not true that Blackwell is not part of the problem. How long has he been down there in C-bus? Twelve or fourteen years right? Hate to break it to you all, but a little angry rhetoric about Taft doesn’t separate him either in the minds of the voters or in reality.

If Blackwell wins, then he will probably be President and he will be the greatest ever. However he has the chance of a snowball in h*ll. Bush won 2004 in OH by 2 points with an energetic base, an unindicted Governor, and an amazing grassroots, and a lot of money. Blackwell at best will only have the money and good grassroots. And Bush was (i think) a way better campaigner and a real candidate with real issues that reached across party lines (War on Terror). What does Blackwell have? Selling the Turnpike? The 2005 VA model is looking alot like 2006 OH. Right leaning state with a bad national climate, a less than stellar candidate, and a good state reason to vote Democrate (Taft). This equals Strickland if you ask me.

So please use it up for DeWine...the nationals need him even if he is weak.

Luke - in all honesty, I don’t post on NLT enought to know you political persuasion. From your post, I would have thought you are a sarcatic liberal.

Your last paragraph however, I find racist and not at all liberal.

I honestly just don’t know what to make of your post. I don’t know what you were trying to say, but what ever it was, your racist tone drowned it out.


Don’t worry about it! It is perfectly OK to say racist things about black Republicans. They’re not really black so it doesn’t count! Kwese Mfume and nearly the entire "civil rights" establishment either say so outright or cannot be found with a flashlight when black conservatives suffer from race baiting. (See also the way Steele is treated in Maryland, how Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell are written about and talked about on the left, the treatment of Ward Connerly, etc, etc). For the record, I think anyone who would type what Luke typed is probably an inbred cracker pig staring at his computer screen through two oblong holes cut in a filth encrusted white sheet. But he might just be an angry progressive!

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