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Blackwell tries to put positive spin on poll



Published: Fri, October 13, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)




The gubernatorial campaign of J. Kenneth Blackwell recently touted a Rasmussen Reports poll that they say shows the Republican has "considerably narrowed the gap" with U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee for the job.

The poll shows Blackwell trailing Strickland by 12 percentage points 52-40. The statement, issued last Friday, went on to say the voter survey "shows a continuing trend of Blackwell gaining momentum and Strickland losing ground as voters begin to focus on the fall campaign."

Strickland's lead in the poll dropped from 25 percentage points in August to 19 percentage point in September to 12 points this month.

All of that is factually correct, but there is a glaring omission by the Blackwell campaign statement that doesn't tell the entire story. Blackwell is losing ground on Strickland in the big picture.

Based on the results of a July 26 Rasmussen Reports survey, the Blackwell campaign issued an Aug. 1 statement that the poll showed "Blackwell swiftly closing the gap" on Strickland. That July poll had Strickland winning by 11 percentage points.

At the time, I wrote Blackwell's campaign must be concerned if they thought losing by double digits was a good thing.

Rasmussen released a poll Aug. 22 showing Strickland's lead at 25 percentage points, more than double his lead in the July survey.

Blackwell campaign statement last week echoed the statement of Aug. 1 that the race is getting closer.

Blackwell, the secretary of state, is still losing by double digits in nearly every poll, although some of the recent ones show him getting beat by a smaller double-digit figure than in surveys done earlier this year.

The numbers in the Rasmussen polls are particularly interesting.

Blackwell of Cincinnati was losing by 11 percentage points, 50-39, in July, and bragged about the results.

The Republican is trailing Strickland of Lisbon by 12 percentage points in the Oct. 3 poll. That's a decline of 1 percentage point over a period of about two-and-a-half months.

Somehow the Blackwell campaign sees this as gaining momentum.

In comparison to the August and September polls, trailing by 12 percentage points is a good thing in the minds of Blackwell's campaign. It's curious to be thrilled with results from a polling agency that has you doing worse with a month to go before Election Day compared to July. Either way, Strickland is winning by more than 10 percentage points.

The Rasmussen Reports polls, which Blackwell's campaign proudly points to, also shows their candidate isn't well-liked among those questioned.

The Oct. 3 poll has 34 percent of those questioned saying they have a "very unfavorable impression" of Blackwell. That is the same percentage for Blackwell in the Sept. 13 poll. His "very unfavorable" percentage in the Aug. 22 poll was 35 percent and 31 percent in July.

Essentially, one out of every three poll participants in every survey have a "very unfavorable impression" of Blackwell. It's highly unlikely that number is going to decline by the Nov. 7 election.

In comparison, Strickland's "very unfavorable" numbers are increasing, but don't touch Blackwell's.

The Oct. 3 survey has the Democrat's "very unfavorable" percentage at 21 percent. It was 18 percent in the Sept. 13 poll, 12 percent Aug. 22, and 13 percent July 26.

Add the polling numbers to Strickland's campaign raising more money than Blackwell, the Republican's failure to gain momentum from the gubernatorial debates and the electorate's overall dislike for Blackwell and the only conclusion to be drawn is he loses next month.

The only questions are by how much and does he drag down the rest of the GOP ticket?




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