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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Blackman, Blackwell, I'm not voting for him

A Blackwell ad

Strickland far ahead, early poll indicates
Democrat strong across board; Brown maintains 8-point edge over DeWine in Senate race
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Darrel Rowland

Democrat Ted Strickland has surged to a surprising lead of 20 percentage points in the first Dispatch Poll on Ohio’s Nov. 7 race for governor.

Meanwhile, Democrat Sherrod Brown holds an 8-point edge in his bid to unseat two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine.

Strickland’s 47-to-27 advantage over GOP rival J. Kenneth Blackwell is fueled by a more than 3-to-1 lead among independent voters, combined with Blackwell’s inability to sell himself to Ohio Republicans.

"I kind of feel like the Republican Party has run the state government like an old boys club for a long time" and it is time for a change, said poll participant Stuart Hinnefeld, 53, a federal worker from the Cincinnati area who backs De-Wine but not Blackwell.

Respondent Barbara Wardlow, a 70-year-old Republican from Clarksville near Cincinnati, said she’s never voted for a Democrat, but that may change this fall.

She said she doesn’t like Blackwell but wants to learn more about Strickland before deciding.

Republicans’ tepid response to Blackwell, despite the secretary of state’s comfortable victory in the May 2 primary, shows up in several ways:

• Overall, 61 percent of Republicans are backing Blackwell, compared with the 81 percent support Strickland is receiving from Democrats.

• Just 53 percent of the respondents who said they voted for President Bush in 2004 are lining up behind Blackwell. There are 28 percent who remain undecided, but 18 percent are ready to vote for Strickland. Less than a majority of those who said they voted for Republican Gov. Bob Taft four years ago want Blackwell in the office. Taft voters are split 46 to 28 between Blackwell and Strickland. Strickland is winning the battle among those who said they voted for Democrat Tim Hagan in 2002 by 81 to 3.

Blackwell’s campaign, of course, is not without means to turn the race around:

• Despite Strickland’s impressive lead, his percentage still falls short of a majority. Almost 1 in 4 respondents remain undecided. Since the congressman from Lisbon is still relatively unknown in much of the Buckeye State, he could be vulnerable to an aggressive GOP campaign to define him as out of touch with Ohioans’ values.

• It’s still early, with more than 100 days before the election. Ohioans have yet to see the gubernatorial campaigns’ fall TV ads, which often are influential. 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. A series of debates this fall also could change many minds.

• The Ohio Republican Party is a proven master at raising money and getting out the vote. It’s been 20 years since they lost a governor’s race and 14 since they lost a statewide nonjudicial contest of any kind.

Still, many key factors are out of Blackwell’s control. Perhaps foremost is that 2006 appears to be shaping up as a Democratic year, with scandals in GOP-controlled state and federal government, an unpopular president, seemingly unending Middle East violence, high gas prices, etc. A somewhat higher than normal percentage of Democrats answered this poll, compared with other Dispatch surveys in recent years.

Ohio voters could receive visible reminders of the state scandals just before going to the polls. A federal trial is set for late September of two brokers involved with the scandals at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. A state trial of former coin dealer and GOP moneyman Thomas W. Noe is scheduled for October and could last through Election Day.

The mail poll of 1,654 randomly selected registered Ohio voters was conducted July 11 through Thursday. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

The scandals were on the minds of many who took part in the poll.

"Taft and his Republican Party have pretty much ruined the state of Ohio, and it’s time for a Democrat to see if they can fix what has been done," said independent Jenna Justen-Green of Brunswick, a sergeant in the Army National Guard who served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

But Justen-Green, 32, whose husband is still in Iraq, is less certain about the Senate race. She said she is leaning toward Brown, a Democratic congressman from Avon, because "this country needs something other than Republicans right now."

Oh, give me a fucking break. White Republicans are running from Blackwell as fast as they can. Partly because he's black, partly because the Ohio GOP is corrupt. But when you factor in the Bradley effect, Blackwell is going to lose in a landslide.

The woman who has been a lifelong Republican suddenly "doesn't like Blackwell", another is supporting DeWine, but "not Blackwell".

At every measure, Blackwell gets far less support than DeWine or any former GOP candidate. Why? He's a stone wingnut. He's a party insider. He's loyal to Bush.

Gee, I wonder what could be driving so many loyal Republicans away from Blackman, Blackwell?

posted by Steve @ 12:14:00 AM

12:14:00 AM

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