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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Ohio's Unpopular Gov. Taft

Posted by DavidNYC

The Times has a front-page (at least, front page of the website) story on Ohio. It's one of those purely anecdotal stories that I find both boring and useless: The reporter just wanders around the state in search of swing voters and gathers some quotes from people who profess to like neither Bush nor Kerry.

But there's another, much more interesting story in the Times today about Ohio, one that I hadn't yet heard about. Apparently, there's a split on the right in Ohio state politics, between the allegedly moderate Governor Bob Taft and his more conservative flank. Ohio Republicans, who dominate every level of government, are now suffering for that strangehold: GOP has only itself to blame for Ohio's problems, so now the infighting has begun. (This is similar to the position faced by the national GOP, which holds every lever of power at the federal level.)

Gov. Taft - who can't run for re-election in 2006 - has seen his approval rating drop to 47% in the most recent University of Cincinatti Ohio Poll (PDF). Admittedly, this poll was taken in February, but Taft used to be a very popular figure, regularly garnerning approval ratings in the high 60s. Evidently, people are unhappy that Taft raised taxes - which of course is the bitter fruit left to state governments as a result of Bush's tax cuts.

It remains to be seen what kind of an effect this will actually have on the election. Some very tired conventional wisdom says that the party which holds a state's governor's mansion gets a boost on election day. (I have no idea how you'd test this theory out, but like I said, it's just the CW.) I don't doubt, though, that a popular governor can help a presidential election effort, and I'm sure that guys like Bill Richardson in NM or Ed Rendell in PA will be a big help to us. But if Taft is unpopular to the point of being persona non grata on the campaign trail, that can only be a boon for our side.

P.S. I rather like the map that the Times produced showing how Ohio voted in 2000. (And good to see Dave Leip getting credit where credit is due.)

Posted at 02:19 PM in Ohio | Technorati


I'm with you about the uselessness of stories that focus on the undecided voters, and it'll only get worse as the election nears. The news media seems to enjoy focusing on these twits.

A typical exchange:

Reporter: "So, Buford, why are you still undecided?"

Buford: "Well, uh (as he spits out some tobacco), I jus' don't see much difference b'tween the two of 'em."

This is supposed to be a stimulating news program, usually headlined as a "special report" and (on MSNBC) led by the obnoxious Frank Luntz. lol...

Anyone who believes there's no difference between Bush and Kerry should lose his or her right to vote this year.

Posted by: Mark at July 3, 2004 02:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark, I see what you're saying, and I realize it was written in something of a fit of pique, but I don't agree. The people who don't see a difference are one of out largest opportunities to do some good -- it's our job, (we being the people who care) to make them see a difference -- especially the apathetic among groups traditionally voting Republican (read: Ohio famers, for example). They're not a group to be frustrated with, they're a group to use -- and, as many people I've spoken with have mixed feelings about Kerry, they must be a bigger group than they have been in previous years.

Posted by: shimamoto at July 4, 2004 01:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Allow me to try to play Solomon here for a moment: I agree that trying to woo these undecided voters is important (so long as we don't lose our base). But at the same time, I don't think that newspaper stories which merely collect anecdotes about these kinds of people are especially helpful or interesting. I am sure the Kerry campaign is trying to figure out exactly what makes these people tick, and that's what matters most.

Posted by: DavidNYC at July 4, 2004 02:06 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I live in Ohio. Taft is unpopular because he has has lost control over the budget and does not from one day to the next if the state is in the red or in the black. There was a temporary sales tax increase to 6% that has turned permanent, and a hundred million here, a hundred million there appears, then disapperas without explanation other than that "the computer lost it." he state once was an economic powerhouse until thirty-five years ago, when we got a series of very bad
governors. Plus, the taxrate goes up, and then firms move out in droves. A lot of the lost industry is very tax-sensitive, such as steel. Further, the executive functions are spliot up amongseveral elected officuials who are clearly not competent, and are not capable of meshing well together.

Posted by: FRANZ IN MEDINA OHIO at September 23, 2004 05:25 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment