The Kasich effect in the Ohio primary
By Jordyn Willis
Ohio Governor John Kasich won in his home state on March 15 despite Donald Trump’s widespread success in other states on Super Tuesday.
The win was crucial for Kasich and has now given him some hope for the nomination as the campaign process moves forward.
“Kasich better have a strong presence in the Ohio primary. In fact, he needs to finish first,” said Robert Postic, associate professor of political science and chair of the social, behavioral and justice sciences department, before the primary occurred. “If he gets beat in his own state, there’s no way he can get the nomination.”
He thinks that Kasich has some positive qualities that may boosted his success in the buckeye state.
“Kasich has shown a willingness to compromise and to work toward solutions,” said Postic.
However, Postic is aware that’s not to say everyone agrees with Kasich’s solutions.
“While he might not be a moderate, his approach has been at least somewhat tempered, making him appear to be moderate in an age of extremism,” said Postic.
According to Postic, Kasich has had fairly good popularity ratings. Last fall, his numbers were above 60 percent approval. A recent poll showed that Kasich was running second to Trump before Ohio’s primary.
It’s difficult to say how much effect his popularity rating was going to have coming into the Ohio primary. Postic said it’s clear that it’s not as much as the Kasich campaign would hope for.
“If it were having the effect they would want, I don’t think he’d be polling second to Trump in Kasich’s own state,” said Postic.
However, not everyone was as optimistic about Kasich’s potential success in Ohio. Earl Streacker, junior environmental safety major, thought that, though Kasich would do well in Ohio, he may not come out on top.
“I feel that being the Ohio Governor will help him greatly, but not give him the upper hand necessarily,” said Streacker before the primary. “He is not very well talked about or doing very well so far with the other candidates and states so I think that Ohio will be his best finish overall, but I do not think he will be first.”
Kasich holds very different reputations to different Ohioans, which may have affected his outcome in the Ohio primary.
“As for his reputation in Ohio, I’m not exactly sure about what the majority of Ohio feel about him but I have noticed he does not have a very favorable reputation,” said Streacker.
However, not everyone thinks that Kasich’s reputation has been less than favorable.
According to “Does John Kasich have an Ohio advantage?” by David M. Drucker, Kasich was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014 and in four-plus years has revived an Ohio economy that languished like the rest of the Rust Belt following the Great Recession.
“Combined success earned Kasich enough political capital to secure the support of Republican donors and operatives in Ohio for his presumed presidential bid and freeze out the other GOP contenders accustomed to hitting up the Buckeye State for campaign cash and operational talent,” wrote Drucker.
Drucker also wrote that Ohio Republicans say that the area’s big GOP donors are either backing Kasich, or choosing to stay neutral in the primary, out of respect to the governor.
“These polls are snapshot of what the voters think today. Tomorrow, it could be a different story. And something two weeks away is a metaphorical eternity in terms of electoral politics and electoral fortunes,” said Postic.
Postic believes that, with the other candidates being very radical, Kasich may need to change his campaign style to direct attention back to him.
“It would be interesting to see what would happen if Kasich would become more aggressive in his campaign style than he’s been. I’m not sure what effect that would have or if he could pull it off. But he has to do something to generate more media attention,” said Postic.