U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, Ohio’s Democratic nominee for governor, continues to dominate recent polls suggesting he is leading his Republican opponent J. Kenneth Blackwell, who currently serves as Ohio Secretary of State.
The poll was conducted by Quinnipiac University and found Strickland leading among likely Ohio voters, 55 percent to 34 percent. The poll was taken between September 11-17 after a three-week barrage of television, print and radio negative advertising against Ted Strickland.
Many of the ads, paid for by a political action committee called Common Sense Ohio, paint a picture that Strickland is an unsuccessful congressman whose track record points toward ineffectiveness and a staunch record of supporting higher taxes.
Strickland’s campaign says Blackwell’s negative campaigning is just not working anymore and that Ohioans are turning away from divisiveness and instead are positively responding to Strickland.
However, don’t be quick to dimiss this race as over and don’t blindly believe polls conducted this early in a campaign. Blackwell has always been a smart politician and will not go down without a fight.
Blackwell, a conservative member of the GOP, has traditionally received support from the grassroots level and from rural communities meaning many of the folks who are contacted for polls aren’t necessarily the diehard members of the Republican Party like followers of Blackwell are.
One item that also makes this race interesting for many political observers is that fact that the two candidates embrace ideals differently than one might think.
Strickland is an ordained minister and a pro-guns advocate, which is not typical of many who run for office as a Democrat. Blackwell, an African-American, is an ultra-conservative Republican, while history has show that many African-Americans lean toward the Democratic Party.
Blackwell champions himself as a reformer who is fighting to distinguish himself from current Republican Gov. Bob Taft, who was convicted in his second term of ethics charges.
Strickland keeps driving home the message that Ohioans want a change from the “culture of corruption” that Democrats say plagues the state due to a one-party majority for more than a decade.
Democrats are also playing up the fact that a high-level Republican political fundraiser named Tom Noe will serve prison time for funneling illegal contributions to President Bush’s campaign in 2004.
One eliminated advantage for Republicans in this race is the amount of money available. The pendulum has swung in Strickland’s favor, so anytime his opponent goes on the offense, the congressman is able to respond.
Let’s say, the race has only just begun.