Recent polls indicate a sharp drop in approval ratings for Ohio Gov. John Kasich since the newly elected governor signed Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), the controversial anti-union bill.
Kasich’s approval ratings are at 30 percent according to a poll released by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll was a telephone survey of 1,384 registered Ohio voters and shows the governor’s disapproval numbers jumping to 46 percent. Comparably, Former Gov. Ted Strickland’s numbers during the first part of his four-year tenure were at 52 percent approval, 12 percent disapproval.
Kasich has been embroiled in legislative battles over collective bargaining for public employees and his budget proposal. Opposition to SB 5, which removes public employees’ ability to collectively bargain, may be at the core of Kasich’s spike in disapproval numbers.
The results of the polls on collective bargaining have changed based on wording.
When Quinnipiac asked respondents whether they supported limiting “collective bargaining,” 48 percent opposed, compared to 41 percent supporting. When the wording was changed to “collective bargaining rights,” opposition rose six points to 54 percent.
More than half of respondents opposed Kasich’s handling of the state budget by a margin of 51 percent to 35 percent.
A disconnect exists between respondents in the survey concerning how they want to close Ohio’s ten figure budget deficit. Fifty-five percent of voters say that Kasich should not have pledged to close the deficit using spending cuts alone, with an additional 64 percent saying they do not expect him to keep his pledge not to raise taxes.
Yet, when asked about how they would solve the budget crisis, 65 percent of voters would not have raised taxes.
Kasich’s approval numbers appear to be just outside the trend of governors facing budget and legislative battles.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who faces a similar contest over his efforts to remove the ability to collectively bargain for public employees, has an approval rating of 43 percent according to a poll from early March by Rasmussen.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is locked in a large fight with the state’s teachers’ union over his proposals for the state’s education system. However, Christie’s approval ratings are just above half, at 51 percent approval, 41% disapproval. Those results come from a Fairleigh Dickinson poll conducted on April 6.
California Gov. Jerry Brown may be faring the best of any governor taking on a state’s budget deficit. The sheer size of California’s deficit, at $28 billion, may have increased support for Brown’s efforts to plug the fiscal hole. Regardless, his approval numbers are nearly 2:1 in favor, at 48 percent approval to 21 percent disapproval according to a Field Poll released March 22.