The players are the same, and the numbers haven’t changed.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the governor’s race in Ohio finds Republican John Kasich with a 47 percent to 40 percent lead over incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland — for the second consecutive month. Three percent of likely voters in the state prefer some other candidate, and 10 percent are undecided.
But both major party candidates show a continuing inability to move their vote totals out of the range they’ve been in for months. Kasich earned 47 percent support to Strickland’s 42 percent last month.
In April and May, the candidates were basically tied. Before then, Kasich had held modest leads. Since December, Kasich’s support has remained in the narrow range of 46 percent to 49 percent, while Strickland’s had fallen in the 38 percent to 45 percent range.
Strickland was elected governor in 2006 with 60 percent of the vote.
Kasich, a former congressman, holds a double-digit lead among male voters, while female voters break essentially even between the two candidates.
Voters not affiliated with either party favor the Republican 45 percent to 28 percent, according to the June 29 survey of 500 likely voters.
The economy and jobs continue to be the central issues in a state that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Although Republicans have focused on job losses while Strickland has been governor, Democrats have countered by citing Kasich’s ties to Wall Street. The Republican has worked as an investment banker since leaving Congress in 2000.
Former Republican Congressman Rob Portman holds a narrow 43 percent to 39 percent lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race.
Sixty percent of voters in Ohio favor a tough immigration law like Arizona’s in their state, which is a bit higher than support nationally. Almost 30 percent oppose such a measure, and 12 percent are undecided.
Almost 65 percent of the larger group favoring an Arizona-like law support Kasich. Strickland earns 74 percent support from those who oppose a law like that in Ohio.
Just over 20 percent of Ohio voters consider themselves members of the tea party movement, compared with 16 percent nationwide. Almost 65 percent are not members, and 15 percent aren’t sure.
Kasich wins 87 percent of the vote among tea party members and 47 percent of those who are not sure. Almost 55 percent of non-members back Strickland.
Almost half of Buckeye State voters view the tea party movement as good for the country, while 29 percent say it’s bad. This is comparable to views nationally.
Almost 45 percent approve of the job Strickland is doing as governor, but 55 percent disapprove. This includes 13 percent who strongly approve and 30 percent who strongly disapprove. These findings are unchanged from the previous survey.
Strickland, also a former congressman, is viewed very favorably by 14 percent of voters in the state and very unfavorably by 31 percent. Just seven percent have no opinion of the current governor.
Almost one-fourth have a very favorable view of Kasich, while 16 percent regard him very unfavorably. But one-in-four voters (25 percent) don’t know enough about Kasich to express any kind of opinion.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with a strong opinion more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
In 2008, Rasmussen Reports projected nationally that Barack Obama would defeat John McCain by a 52 percent-to-46 percent margin. Obama won, 53 percent to 46 percent. Four years earlier, Rasmussen Reports projected the national vote totals for both George W. Bush and John Kerry within half-a-percentage-point.
In Ohio, Rasmussen Reports' final survey before Election Day showed Obama and McCain tied at 49 percent in a race Obama won 51 percent to 47 percent. In 2004, Rasmussen polling showed George W. Bush defeating John Kerry in Ohio by a 50 percent to 46 percent margin. Bush won 51 percent to 49 percent.
In the 2006 Ohio race for U.S. Senate, Rasmussen polling showed Sherrod Brown beating Mike DeWine by 11 points, 54 percent to 43 percent. Brown won by 12, 56 percent to 44 percent. In the 2006 race for governor, Rasmussen polling showed Strickland leading Ken Blackwell by 25 points, 59 percent to 34 percent. Strickland won by 23, 60 percent to 37 percent.
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