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OHIO POLL Taft's approval rating rises



Published: Thu, July 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A large number of people who approve of the governor's job performance couldn't give specific reasons why.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Gov. Bob Taft's job performance approval rating, which hit a three-year low two months ago, has increased 3 percent, according to a state poll.

But there's some bad news for Taft in the latest Ohio Poll, released Wednesday. His 23 percent disapproval rating is the highest level he has ever had in the history of the poll. The disapproval rating is an increase of 2 percentage points from the last Ohio Poll in May.

As is typical of Taft in the Ohio Poll, a large number of people who approve of his job performance couldn't give specifics reasons they feel that way.

Twenty-two percent said they didn't know why they approved of Taft's job performance, 11 percent said the governor was "doing a good job [in general]," and 5 percent said they "have not heard anything bad about him." Those were the top three reasons given.

"We're pleased with the results, and it shows support for the governor in tough economic times," said Orest Holubec, Taft's campaign spokesman. "But a poll is a poll. We hope the support is reflected through Nov. 5," Election Day.

The numbers

Taft received an approval rating of 62 percent, an increase of 3 percentage points from the last poll in May. The 59 percent rating two months ago was the second-lowest for Taft in the history of the Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati. His approval rating was 49 percent in March 1999, two months after he took office.

The latest poll questioned 828 Ohio adults June 17-30 and has a 3.4 percent margin of error.

Taft, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Tim Hagan. An Ohio Poll earlier this month had Taft leading Hagan by 23 percentage points.

The latest poll showed that 63 percent of those asked said they "knew too little to say" when asked to rate Taft's performance regarding the state's budget problems. Of those who had an opinion, 19 percent disapproved of how he is handling the state's budget problems, and 17 percent approve of it.

Those questioned were also asked to rate the Ohio Legislature's handling of the state's budget problems; 71 percent said they "knew too little to say."

But that didn't stop those polled from giving their support to the Legislature.

The poll showed that 59 percent approve of the way the Legislature does its job, an increase of 1 percentage point from the May poll.

Those participating in the poll were also asked to rate the job performances of U.S. Sens. George Voinovich and Mike DeWine. The two Republicans each received approval ratings of 59 percent. That is an increase of 2 percent for Voinovich and 5 percent for DeWine from the May poll.

skolnick@vindy.com




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