On Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch and other Ohio newspapers reported on the Ohio Newspaper Poll results for the likely 2010 Ohio governor’s race, between incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland and Republican challenger John Kasich. The poll indicates that Kasich leads Strickland, 51 to 45 percent. The Akron Beacon Journal story on the poll is here.
I don’t think such early polls mean much. Ohio’s election is 10 months from now, which is an eternity in the fast-paced world of modern politics. Most people haven’t focused on the election or the candidates. I doubt if many people outside of central Ohio really know much about John Kasich, who used to represent one of the two congressional districts in the Columbus area, and I doubt if many people anywhere could tell you what he proposes to do if he is elected governor. For Governor Strickland, who is more of a known commodity statewide, the primary question is what the economy, and the state budget, will look like when November rolls around. If Ohio’s economy continues to stumble, that obviously will hurt Strickland’s chances.
I suppose the only real point of these early polls — aside from providing a story for the participating newspapers on a rainy Sunday in January — is to allow the candidates to raise money. Kasich can tell potential supporters that he has a great opportunity to be elected if he just gets their support, and cite this poll as support. Strickland, on the other hand, can go to his contributors and argue that he needs their help to hold the Ohio governorship for the Democrats. The voters, meanwhile, largely go about their lives, blissfully ignorant of polls and the impending onslaught of campaign ads.