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Not So Rosy In Ohio?

TPM Reader MS:

As a Yellow Dog Democrat who lives in the state of Ohio, I would very much like to agree with your assessment that the sound defeat of SB5 in Ohio is an indication of an improvement in the people's support of President Obama.

However when I look at the results of the vote on Issue 3 I have to disagree with your opinion. Issue 3 was largely a symbolic vote and it's results are moot. But it was, in my opinion, an indication of the approval of President Obama's health care law. Since this is his signature issue, it's also an indication of approval for him. A year is a long time and I have hope that things can change over that time. It's also becoming increasingly apparent that the Republican party really lacks a viable candidate. But if the election were held right now between the president and a generic republican candidate, I don't think Obama would win Ohio.

I sure don't want to minimize the importance of the rejection of Issue 2 in the Buckeye State, tho. A lot of time and money was sent into Ohio by the opposition and they didn't succeed. That's a good sign.


TPM Reader AS:

I am a former Ohio resident and inveterate follower of both Ohio politics and TPM. I just read the post asking if the repeal of SB5 signifies a resurgence for Obama in Ohio.

I hope so, but I'm a little skeptical. While Issue #2 has gotten all the press and is certainly a great (and needed) victory, people have paid much less attention to Issue #3. Issue #3 was the call for a constitutional amendment that would prevent the insurance mandate from the Affordable Care Act from taking effect in Ohio.

More than Issue #2, it is Issue #3 that is tied to Obama and Issue #3 won an overwhelming victory, meaning that a considerable number of Ohioans voted no on #2 and yes on #3.

It may be that the union mobilization behind Issue #2 can carry over to 2012. I hope so. But Democrats still need to convince a lot of Ohioans who are skeptical about the Obama administration's signal legislative achievement.

TPM Reader AW:

Yes, Ohio voters overwhelmingly voted down SB 5, but I don't necessarily think the final results of the election are the "stinging rebuke" to Gov. Kasich that you say. Whatever you think about the overall bill, Kasich hurt his own cause by doing the right thing and having the law apply to police and fire unions as teachers and other public employees. My impression - and I admit that I haven't surveyed the whole state - is that if Kasich had narrowed the scope of his bill to cover teachers and AFSCME members, the police and fire union members would have happily voted against the other unions. But in the name of fairness he actually tried to apply the law to all public employee unions. That cost him.

As a sidelight, I'd also note that will Issue 2 went down big time, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 3, amending the state constitution to "compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system." You can argue that the ballot language of the amendment was misleading, but the fact remains that it was an attempt to make a direct strike against ACA. The amendment was supported by Ohio Tea Party groups, and overwhelmingly opposed by state newspapers and even many conservative politicians. It lost big, even in Democratic strongholds.

So I'd say the Ohio picture is overall much more friendly to Republicans than Democrats at this point.

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.