Friday, May 19, 2006

Strickland's numbers rising, while Blackwell is stuck in neutral

From Rasmussen Reports:

Election 2006-Ohio Governor
Three-Poll Rolling Average










"The candidates began the year much closer than they are today with Strickland leading just 44% to 40% in our January survey. Since then, his lead has been in double digits every month. Our last three surveys found the Democrat at 50% or above each time."

The convention wisdom has been that Strickland has been ahead of Blackwell in the polls because of the brutal primary with Jim Petro. However, six months of polling shows Blackwell's support stuck in the mid-30s while Strickland's support has jumped seven points over that period. Blackwell's numbers wouldn't have much of a bruising back in November when most were still thinking about OSU football than a primary election half a year away.

But this is just the rolling averages of these months, if you look to some of the month-to-month totals, Strickland's rise in the polls is all the more impressive. In the January poll, Rasmussen showed Strickland-Blackwell at 44-40. That means Blackwell has remained statisically flat while Strickland has seen an eight-point raise.

This is largely due to Strickland's improving of his name recognition over this time. As more voters have gotten to know who Ted Strickland is, the more they have supported him. And that's bad news for Ken Blackwell. After twelve years in state office, there isn't much improvement he can make in his name recognition, and it only gives him more than a third of the vote.

This poll was commissioned the day after the primary, so if Blackwell has gotten any lift from any possible mending within the Republican base it couldn't show in this poll. Conversely, if Blackwell has suffered any backlash from his sudden post-primary reversals on TEL and CAT we don't know that either. Additionally, with a 79% victory, Strickland doesn't have much of a "fence mending" bounce. But as independants start to pay attention to the race (and given the national trend of independents breaking towards Democrats this cycle), Strickland's numbers have a greater likelihood than not of improving.

In the end, the convention wisdom is right about one thing. In order to win, Blackwell is going to have to make a convincing "anti-Strickland" case rather than a "pro-Blackwell" message.

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