The conventional wisdom on the gubernatorial race both on the left and right is that with Blackwell's higher name identification, Strickland's support is soft as he is an unknown and with an effective Blackwell offensive "branding" Strickland's identity in voters' minds, Blackwell still has room to close the gap. After spending what must have been millions this month attacking Strickland (who, apparently, has decided to sit on his money for now,) a recent poll has shown that the hopes of RAB of Strickland's support being soft and easily peeled away is pure bunk.
A Quinnpiac poll released today (showing Strickland with a 21-point lead of 55-34. See a pattern?) shows that it is Blackwell's support that is soft:
Among Strickland supporters, 84 percent say their mind is made up, with 78 percent of Blackwell supporters saying they are locked in.
Also, the poll shows that Blackwell's ads aren't doing much to scare Republican voters back home under his banner. This poll is also the first poll, I believe, to show that Blackwell has a gender gap problem. (Yep, that Ted is smooth with the ladies...)
Rep. Strickland leads 88 - 6 percent among Democratic likely voters, and 54 - 31 percent among independent voters, while Blackwell leads 71 - 18 percent among Republicans, the independent Quinnipiac University poll finds. Men favor the Democrat 51 - 40 percent, while women back Strickland 60 - 28 percent.
So Strickland enjoys a solid lead among indpendents, has his base strongly behind him, and has three times the partisan cross-over vote than Blackwell. I've been saying all summer that for Blackwell to win, he'd need to fundamentally alter these demographics by uniting his party and blunting Strickland's advantages with independents and reducing Strickland's cross-over appeal.
This is the first poll to show that corruption is a significant issue for Ohio voters, and in that Strickland has a huge advantage:
This probably explains Strickland's appeal to Republican voters. Voters just don't believe that Blackwell is going to stand up to the culture of corruption in Columbus after being there for twelve years. Also, for all of you who questioned the wisdom of Strickland advertising on Christian radio stations a few months ago:
By a 48 - 29 percent margin, Ohio voters think Strickland would do a better job ending corruption in state government. A total of 83 percent say the issue of
political corruption is "extremely important" or "very important" in deciding their vote. Among Democrats, 85 percent say the corruption is "extremely important" or "very important," with 79 percent among Republicans.
The Republican leads Strickland, a minister, 53 - 40 percent among self-described white evangelical Christians, normally an overwhelmingly Republican voting bloc. In 2004, for example, President Bush received 76 percent of the white evangelical vote in Ohio, according to the exit polls.Reformation Project? Dead.
Also, have I mentioned enough that Blackwell's biggest problem in improving his numbers is that people just don't like him and love Strickland?
Couldn't have said it better myself! SEVEN MORE WEEKS!!!
Blackwell has a negative 27 - 32 percent favorability rating, with 24 percent mixed and 15 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion.
"Rep. Strickland's lead is solid and uniform. He is ahead among men and women and the critical independent voters. And his supporters are more likely to say they won't change their mind than are Secretary of State Blackwell's," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Given that the vast majority of voters say they have made up their minds, Blackwell has a steep hill to climb. More Ohioans view him unfavorably than favorably and changing a voters' mind is a difficult task for candidates once the voter has formed an opinion."
"It is hard to win an election when more voters don't like you than do," said Brown.
By comparison, Strickland gets a 41 - 13 percent favorability, with 22 percent mixed and 22 percent who haven't heard enough to form an opinion.