Labor is poised for a big victory in Ohio Tuesday. PPP's final poll on Issue 2 finds 59% of voters plan to reject Senate Bill 5, with only 36% voting for approval.
What might be most remarkable about the 23 point margin in this poll is that it's exactly identical to what we found the first time we polled on this issue all the way back in March. Voters were furious then and that anger has continued all the way to November.
Democrats are almost unanimous in their opposition to SB 5, supporting repeal by an 86-10 margin. Meanwhile there's division in the Republican ranks- 30% are planning to vote down their Governor's signature proposal while only 66% are supportive of it. Independents split against it by a 54/39 spread as well.
If this margin holds on Tuesday night it will be a humiliating defeat for John Kasich. Kasich continues to be one of the most unpopular Governors in the country with only 33% of voters approving of him to 57% who disapprove. The only person we've found with worse numbers this year is Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie. If Ohio voters could do it over again they'd reelect Ted Strickland by a 55-37 margin over Kasich, and although they don't have an opportunity for a redo on the Gubernatorial election the likely results of the Senate Bill 5 referendum on Tuesday can be seen as a proxy for it.
The news isn't all bad for Ohio Republicans though. Issue 3, where a yes vote is being framed as a rejection of Barack Obama's health care plan, is leading for passage by a 49-35 margin. That represents a significant tightening from 3 weeks ago when PPP found the measure ahead by a 55-24 margin, but it might be difficult for the 'no' side to make up another 14 points in the final 36 hours before the polls open.
Our number suggest that voters may not really understand what Issue 3 is. For instance 18% of Republicans say they oppose it, and we never found anywhere close to 18% of Ohio Republicans supportive of the health care bill when we were polling on it last year. At the same time Democrats only oppose Issue 3 by a 51/29 margin, and we never found anywhere close to 29% of Democrats opposed to Obama's health care plan last year. That lack of understanding about what exactly Issue 3 is has 16% of voters still undecided so this could end up closer than the polling currently indicates.
Issue 1, which would make a bunch of changes to the judicial system in Ohio, is trailing for passage by a 48/27 margin but this is another one where voters don't really understand what it's about, with 25% still undecided. Unlike the other two issues this one isn't terribly polarizing along party lines- Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike are opposed to it.
One other note on the Issue 2 polling- PPP was criticized both by supporters of Issue 2 and by opponents after its last poll for not using the exact language on the ballot. We felt giving a synopsis of what Issue 2 was about rather than using the exact language was appropriate because of the confusion over what exactly a yes vote and a no vote on the issue meant. For this final poll we used the exact ballot language, and then on a question later in the survey asked again using the language from our earlier polls, which was 'Ohio will have a referendum on whether to approve or reject Senate Bill 5, which was passed earlier this year, and limits collective bargaining rights for public employees. If the election was today, would you vote to approve or reject Senate Bill 5?' Using that language we found 59% of voters for rejection, just like we found 59% for rejection using the exact ballot language. Given that we think even more now that it was reasonable for us not to use the exact ballot language on our earlier polls.
Full results here