Monday, July 31, 2006

Yet another poll shows Strickland with a double-digit lead

Although the Rasmussen results aren't available to anyone but their subscribers yet, it appears the latest Rasmussen Reports poll in Ohio shows Sherrod Brown with a slight lead. Apparently, Ted Strickland continues to have an unspecified (at this time) double-digit lead over Blackwell. So on the one hand we have Rasmussen, SurveyUSA, and the Dispatch polls all consistently showing Strickland with a double-digit lead. On the other hand, we have a rather dated Ohio Poll and a recent Zogby poll showing Strickland with a five-point lead.

What tips the polling conventional wisdom in favor of the first camp? Blackwell's own pollster shows it to be a double-digit race.

I'll update this once Rasmussen makes the general numbers available to the non-subscribing public.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Blackwell gets hit with a Ted x Twenty" poll

DISCLAIMER: I have always been very critical and skeptical of the polling methodology, but as Republicans have historically defended this particular poll as being an accurate predictor of head-to-head races, who am I not to crow?

In today's Columbus Dispatch, their first poll for the general election gubernatorial matchup shows Congressman Ted Strickland with a twenty-point lead over Sec. of State Ken Blackwell.

Taken into consideration other polls, this recent polling data would suggest that Congressman Strickland continues to pull away from Blackwell as the election approaches Election Day.

The analysis in the linked article seems spot-on except for one point:
"A personal appeal from Bush — already coming to Ohio for an Aug. 2 Blackwell fundraiser near Cleveland — could push many of the president’s supporters into Blackwell’s camp."
This quote seems to ignore the very results of the poll. One of Blackwell's biggest problems is that he is getting a cold reception from Republican voters. The poll shows only 61% of self-identified Republicans plan on voting for Blackwell in the fall, and only 53% of those who voted for President Bush in 2004 plan on voting for Blackwell this year (Strickland's numbers 81% and 78% among self-identified Democrats and Kerry voters, respectively.) So Blackwell has problems with his base, and I don't think that the President is the solution.

According to the last Ohio Poll, President Bush has hit an all-time low in his approval rating in Ohio with only 35% approving and 63% disapproving. With Blackwell's biggest liability being he is too extreme and polarizing, I don't think having Bush come in is going to suddenly drive those Republicans who have become disenchanted with the President and the Republican Party come charging into the ballot booths for Blackwell in November.

And appearing side-by-side with President Bush is going to harm one of Blackwell's supposedly greater strengths: his ability to attract African-American voters. Let's face it, how else do you explain why the former Ohio chairman of the Bush/Cheney '04 campaign has no pictures of the President on his campaign website? Because his campaign knows you aren't going to win over skeptical African-American voters when they realize that Blackwell is a dye-in-the-wool defender and champion of the Bush Administration.

I predict that the Bush-Blackwell campaign fundraiser will be an unseen disaster for the Blackwell campaign. It will do nothing to help the rift in his party's base, and will alienate Blackwell from the African-American vote. Furthermore, as the recent federal campaign finance reports of the Republican Congressional and Senate campaign funds reveal, the President's once-vaunted ability to raise massive amounts of cash has substantially weakened. In fact, despite early claims that President Bush raised over $17 million for the Republican House and Senate campaign funds, the recent reports indicated that the much publicized fundraiser raised substantially less than claimed. Therefore, I will be watching to see if the Blackwell campaign's finance reports actually show the $1 million it claims Bush's visit will raise.

Not only does this poll show that Strickland's lead is growing while Blackwell's base has yet to heal from the divisive and bitter primary, but it shows Strickland dominating in almost all demographics. Strickland has substantial leads in all regions of Ohio except for southwestern and western Ohio. Except for a tie in 18-24 year-olds, Strickland has substantial leads in all age groups. He has a gender advantage with both male and female voters. He leads in all faiths, and among those of no faith. Overwhelming advantage in union households and substantial leads in non-union households. And Strickland has strong leads among all income levels of voters.

Given these leads, it seems that the 24% of undecided voters are not sold on Blackwell, but Strickland has not yet closed the deal on them. However, given the polling trends showing Strickland building his lead as Ohio voters get to know him and Blackwell, it's difficult to imagine anything the Blackwell campaign can do to get the 84% of the undecided votes it needs to close the gap and pull ahead.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blackwell's lying about his inability to do anything about the Cuyahoga Board of Elections mess

Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's official spokeman, denies that Secretary of State Blackwell can break the tie in the Cuyahoga Board of Elections' vote to remove Cuyahoga Board of Elections Director Michael Vu.

As was reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Blackwell spokesman James Lee said that Ohio law says that ties involving elections board directors or deputy directors are not matters for the secretary of state to decide and that Blackwell's office would not get involved. A tie in such cases means the proposal to remove Vu fails, Lee said.
But that's not the whole story.

Under R.C. 3501.16:

"The secretary of state may summarily remove or suspend any member of the board of elections, or the director, deputy director, or any other employee of the board, for neglect of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office . . . vacancies in the office of chairperson, director, or deputy director shall be filled in the same manner as original selections are made, from persons belonging to the same political party as that to which the outgoing officer belonged. If those vacancies cannot be filled in that manner, they shall be filled by the secretary of state."

So Blackwell's office is ducking the real question. Nobody really cares if Blackwell feels he has the statutory authority to break the Board's tie on issues regarding the director. What they want to know is if Blackwell will use his express statutory authority to remove those responsible for the Cuyahoga Board of Elections disaster, regardless of what the Board has decided or failed to decide.

Sad when a simple blogger has to cite Ohio Election law back to Ohio's two-term Secretary of State.

[UPDATE]: If someone can get me the legal authority the Secretary of State's office is relying on for their interpretation of Ohio law, I'd like to review it. Under R.C. 3501.09, the Secretary of State determines who the Director and other positions will be in the event that the Board of Elections cannot decide on who to appoint. It would, therefore, make little sense that the legislature would not give the Secretary of State authority to determine whether to remove a Director when the Board of Elections is tied on the matter.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yep, the Blackwell campaign sure does respect African-Americans.....

So this is the flyer that the Blackwell campaign is spreading around the East Side of Cleveland. They'd like you to think that it's just a coincidence that the guy in it is African-American and that they started passing it out only on the East side of Cleveland.....

After reading the people at Right Angle Blog whine and moan about how comments about Blackwell are representative about how Democrats truly feel about African-Americans, Blackwell's "diverse" staff puts this crap out. Yeah, Blackwell sure respects African-American voters.....

And most importantly, Blackwell apparently has no respect for African-American voters' intelligence either.

For example, the "wrong on education" line. According to the flyer, Strickland is wrong on education because he voted against an 1998 amendment to an education bill. What Blackwell's campaign flyer fails to mention is that Strickland voted against the amendment because it would eliminate affirmative action policies in college admissions. Does Blackwell think that Strickland is wrong to support affirmative action in college admissions? If so, the campaign refuses to publicly say so? Does the Blackwell campaign honestly think that African-Americans would oppose Strickland because he voted to protect affirmative action in college admissions?

I doubt it. And I wonder when Blackwell will publicly put out fliers applauding his role as chief defender of President Bush's decision to have the federal government argue that the U.S. Supreme Court should declare affirmative action policies in college admissions are unconstitutional?

I'm sure those flyers will be passed out by the Blackwell campaign on the East Side later in the campaign. And how is Strickland wrong on crime? Because he supports gun rights? Strickland is wrong on marriage rights? Really? Who does Strickland think shouldn't have the right to marry?

Wrong on religious freedom? Why? Because he supports the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state? Strickland doesn't oppose prayer in school. He opposes school-sponsored prayer because he thinks government has no business running religion. You'd think that's a concept anti-government conservatives could comprehend. Wrong on small business? Why? Because he opposed NAFTA and unfair trade agreements? Or because he has supported the President's fiscally reckless policies?

What does this flyer really tell me? That Ken Blackwell really has no plan to help African-Americans in particular and has no faith that his vision can win over African-American voters on their own.