Ohio poll: Don't cut people's programs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The old adage that people may want the ox gored, but not their ox, appears to hold true in the findings of an Quinnipiac poll published last week in Ohio. The poll focused on the issue of cutting the Ohio budget, which was the central issue of conservative Republican John Kasich in his successful campaign to unseat Ohio Governor Ted Strickland in the November election. Republicans swept all statewide offices, captured the open senate seat and reclaimed three national House seats, strongly rallying around the call to “cut spending.”

Results of the first major poll after the elections show that while they may have the seats in the legislature to follow through, their constituents are not on board with those stated goals.

“Clearly, Kasich and his people have a serious selling job on their hands,” stated Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac Polling Institute.

On the issue of eliminating the right of public workers to bargain collectively, a key plank in the pro-corporate GOP campaign, those polled opposed this proposal by a strong 51 percent-34 percent result. The related proposal to “lay-off public workers to balance the Ohio budget,” also got a thumbs down in the poll, 46 percent-43 percent.

A majority of Ohioans also frowned on a key Kasich proposal to eliminate the Ohio tax on estates of more than $338,000, which conservatives call the “Death Tax.”Only 36 percent expressed approval, vs. 51 percent opposed.

Privatization of public services has been central to the new Kasich regime’s goals, as they’ve brought in a new firm to begin that process immediately, to great fervor in the local media. Two areas, prisons and roads, were polled on this question, with the public firmly rejecting both.  The proposal to privatize the Ohio Turnpike drew strong opposition, 51 percent-30 percent, while privatizing Ohio prisons lost 51 percent-33 percent in the poll. Only 28 percent of those polled believe that Kasich will be able to keep his campaign pledge of “No New Taxes!”

In an even more ominous sign for the incoming slate, only 30 percent of those polled approved of Kasich’s performance in office, after only a week in that office, while 22 percent disapproved. This is generally a “softball, giveaway” type of question at this point in a new term. At the same time in Strickland’s term four years ago, those approving of his performance was up 48 percent-12 percent.   

In related developments, a series of polls commissioned by retiree organizations are showing strong opposition to proposals being floated to cut Social Security benefits and raise the official retirement age.

Photo by ProgressOhio, cc by 2.0