From: Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director, ProgressOhio
To: Friends and Supporters
RE: Upcoming Ohio Ballot Measures
DO NOT FORWARD
Thank you for all your hard work the past few months. Thousands of volunteers,
Democrats and Republicans, union and non-union workers, have been working all
across the state, showing up to knock on doors, leafleting at local festivals and talking to
Ohioans – one voter at a time – and telling them to vote “No on 2,” the unfair and unsafe
law that hurts Ohio’s middle class families.
While we have reason to feel good about where things currently stand considering
how far we’ve come, none of us should get a false sense of security from recent
public polling, as they are incredibly lofty and unlikely to resemble the final
margin. Make no mistake, this race will tighten between now and Election Day.
Just as they ran a dishonest ad infamously twisting the words of a great grandmother
whose son and great-granddaughter were saved by firefighters from a burning home,
Governor John Kasich and his Right Wing allies will spend and do whatever it takes to
manipulate Ohio voters in order to protect an extreme anti-middle class, pro-corporate
Just recently in Wisconsin many pundits including groups from our own side predicted
Democrats had it in the bag, but the Koch Brothers and other shady Right Wing groups
spent tens of millions of dollars in the final weeks and Democrats came up just short on
Election Day from taking back the state senate.
I’ve heard from too many of our supporters, long-time activists, and others close to the
campaign who believe and are acting as if we have already won. That is an extremely
dangerous mentality for our side to have going into Election Day.
We can't afford to have our supporters sit home because they don't think their vote is
needed. We also can't afford to have our volunteers have the mistaken impression that
their tireless efforts are not absolutely critical. We must implore our supporters to keep
working and finish the job we set out to do.
The following is our most candid assessment of where the “Issue 2” measure currently
stands and why we must redouble our efforts between now and November 8th. None of
us can afford to wake up on November 9th with any regrets.
Public Polling is Unreliable
Polling on complicated issues like this is unreliable. Those predicting a blowout
for our side are basing their analysis on flawed public polling samples.
Modeling turnout for an off year ballot initiative is notoriously difficult. This is especially
true in a state like Ohio where polling on ballot initiatives has been very unreliable.
Public polling on a 2004 same-sex marriage ban showed proponents with a single-digit
lead, but the amendment passed by a whopping 24 point margin.
2005 "Reform Ohio Now" amendments to reform Ohio's elections and redistricting
process were widely thought to be headed toward passage, but they were defeated by a
2-to-1 margin on Election Day.
In 2009, a measure to build casinos in four Ohio cities was expected to pass in a
blowout but passed with only 53 percent of the vote.
Bottomline: It’s nearly impossible to develop a reliable likely voter model for ballot
initiatives and public polling only relies on registered voters instead of likely voters.
The recent public polling on Issue 2 from Public Policy Polling (October 19th) and
Quinnipiac University (October 25th) showed Issue 2 headed for defeat by a lopsided 56-
36 margin and a 57- 32 margin respectively.
The PPP poll asks respondents how they will vote on Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), while the
Quinnipiac Poll asks, “Do you think this new law which limits collective bargaining for
public employees should be kept or repealed?”
Keep in mind, neither of these polls tested the actual ballot language.
Our side did a wonderful job of driving up negatives on “SB 5 before” we were certified
as “Issue 2.” However a massive amount of voter confusion remains on what a “yes” or
“no” vote on “Issue 2” means. It’s a safe bet, if the actual “Issue 2” language were polled
that the margin would have been substantially narrower.
The lesson here is that while we would be ecstatic with a 20 or 25 point victory on
November 8th there are simply too many unknowns to believe these numbers are
credible or even remotely possible.
Right Wing Dirty Tricks
In their quest for victory over working families in Ohio, our opposition has pulled out all
the stops to confuse voters and muddy the electoral waters for opponents of “Issue 2.”
The following is just a sampling of Right Wing dirty tricks our opponents have used:
“Issue “3 - Corporate backed Right Wing front groups like Freedom
Works have funded and coordinated the placement of “Issue 3” (anti-
Affordable Health Care Act) on the ballot for the sole purpose of driving
their base to the polls to vote “yes” on “Issue 2.” Yard signs and
campaign literature for our opponents say "Yes On 2 & 3" and equate
“Issue 2” with what they call "Obamacare" in an attempt to peel off our
Misleading and Phony Ads – “Building a Better Ohio,” a right wing
extremist group has gone to extreme lengths to increase voter confusion
on “Issue 2.” They even deceptively edited a “We are Ohio” ad to imply an
“Issue 2” opponent was a supporter. Our opponents know that our
message of community safety is resonating, so they are co-opting it to
make it seem as though a YES vote will provide adequate staffing for
police and fire departments. There is anecdotal evidence that their tactic
Deceptive Mailers – In a further attempt to confuse the electorate, the
Alliance for American’s Future, a Virginia based independent expenditure
group run by Liz Cheney, has flooded Ohio mail boxes with deceptive
mailers tying “Issue 2” and President Obama. Ohioans' mailboxes have
been flooded with literature that implies that a YES vote on “Issue 2” will
support our teachers and other public employees. These mailers have
caused confusion even among our core supporters.
Unfortunately, the millions of dollars that “Building a Better Ohio” and their out of
state cooperate allies have spend misleading voters has worked.
Voters remain in need of clarification on the meaning of their vote.
With Kasich’s allies continuing to saturate the airwaves with dishonest ads, and with our
opponents' voter suppression operation in full swing, we need to fight harder than ever in
the homestretch in what we expect to be a very close election on November 8th.