The drubbing Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) took over the repeal of SB 5, his signature legislative initiative that striped collective bargaining rights from public unions as a way to curtail state and local budgets, has effectively crushed his personal standing in the state. A new Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows only 33 percent of Ohio general election voters approve of his job performance, while a majority of 53 percent are disappointed with it. Those numbers translate into a serious case of buyer’s remorse on the behalf of Ohioans, as Kasich would lose a rematch against former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) by twenty points in the poll.
“Ohio voters sent John Kasich a strong message in November by repealing Senate Bill 5 and his numbers haven’t improved any since then,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling in a release. “He remains one of the least popular Governors in the country and that could help Democratic prospects in the state this fall.”
Indeed, President Obama showed improving strength against likely Republican nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney when PPP recently polled the swing state — Obama was up by seven as Romney struggled with favorability. Romney’s problems essentially mirror Kasich’s personal numbers in the state. “John Kasich [Ohio’s Gov. and chief proponent of SB 5] has really hurt the Republican brand in the state and the economy’s getting better,” PPP pollster Tom Jensen wrote in an email to TPM about the previously released Presidential numbers.
SB 5 was subjected to a repeal vote when pro-Union forces forced a referdum vote on the new law in November. Voters responded by rejecting it by 22 points, 61 - 39, and it seems to have soured the state on Kasich himself.
Given the chance to re-do the 2010 election that pitted Kasich against then-incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland (D), only 36 percent of voters would stick with the Republican. A majority of 56 percent would now go with Strickland, who himself campaigned with anti-SB 5 forces in Ohio. Within that number, Kasich loses nearly a quarter of GOPers to Strickland, while surrendering independent voters by thirteen points. Indies are also the crux of Obama’s lead on Romney at the moment.
The PPP survey uses 820 automated interviews with Ohio voters conducted January 28th and 29th. It has a sampling error of 3.4 percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.