Cuts-apolooza

We continue our series on the approval ratings of Midwestern governors with Ohio’s John Kasich.

No one has ever called Republican Ohio governor John Kasich a shrinking violet. Throughout his career as a state senator, congressman, presidential candidate, investment banker, commentator, guest host on The O’Reilly Factor, and now as governor, Kasich has been willing to suggest bold solutions to problems. Like nearly all governors, Kasich is faced with a mountain of deficits and debt, and solutions to such problems are never easy or popular. Although Kasich is quoted as saying that cuts alone won’t be enough, he has embraced what the Columbus Dispatch terms the “cuts, cuts, more cuts” approach as his starting point.

To start reducing Ohio’s red ink, Kasich’s agenda leave few stones unturned. His plan calls for cuts in 250 of 371 general fund spending line items for an estimated savings of $2.3 billion. He’s also proposed a wide range of other changes such as leasing the state-run liquor distribution system to fund economic development (the more alcohol Ohioans consume, the more jobs they create?), privatizing five state prisons while allowing lower-risk felons back on the street earlier, $800 million+ cuts to local units of government, and even forcing state college professors to teach one additional course every two years.

We saw earlier this week what raising taxes (among other initiatives) seems to have done to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s approval rating. Like Quinn, Kasich won his election with under 50 percent of the vote from an electorate seemingly ready for change. And to be fair, both Quinn and Kasich articulated their divergent positions on how to fix budget problems throughout their campaigns… albeit without the level of details now known. So Illinois’ strong reaction against Quinn for raising taxes should translate to a positive response in Ohio for Kasich who is concentrating on reductions in spending, right? Wrong.

In addition to demographic information, we asked the good folks of Ohio this question:

In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job Ohio governor Kasich is doing?

Here are the results:

Type of Poll: Automated
Sample: 1,136 Ohio voting households
Date of Poll: 3/22/201
Margin of Error: ±2.91%
 
Approve
Disapprove
Uncertain
ALL RESPONSES:35.48%57.57%6.95%
By GENDER:
Female36.73%55.26%8.01%
Male34.08%60.15%5.77%
By PARTY ID:
Republican57.64%34.32%8.04%
Democrat17.38%76.32%6.30%
Independent32.51%60.93%6.56%

Although Kasich still enjoys a decent approve/disapprove ratio among fellow Republicans, his numbers among Independents — the voting block that helped put him over the top in the fall–have tanked. Union unrest stemming from Kasich’s stance on collective bargaining for public employees has added oomph to the growing volume of public discontent as protestors take to the streets in the Buckeye State.

Conducting approval polls at such volatile times in the Midwest indicate the extreme difficulty new governors face. Kasich, like Quinn in Illinois, is confronted with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t short list of options in dealing with Ohio’s huge debt load. But like Quinn, Kasich is a wily politician who understands that time can heal all political wounds. Right?

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NOTE: This poll was paid for by We Ask America. The information has not been shared with any public official, candidate, cause or campaign.

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