Four pollsters have released approval numbers on Ted Strickland since last November.
Two of them- Quinnipiac and the Ohio Poll- show Strickland in a strong position. The most recent Quinnipiac showed Strickland at 57/29 for a net of +28. The latest Ohio Poll showed it at 56/34, or +22.
SurveyUSA and PPP show a very different picture. SUSA's most recent numbers were 45/44, or +1 and our release tonight finds 43/42, also +1.
It's worth noting that Quinnipiac and PPP are showing the same trend. In January Quinnipiac had Strickland at +38, so his +28 now is a ten point drop. We had him at +13 in January and now at +1 for a similar 12 point drop. So while we show very different pictures on Strickland's overall popularity we do both find it declining.
Why the discrepancy? I'm not sure. Quinnipiac and the Ohio Poll use live interviewers while PPP and SUSA utilize automated polling, but that may or may not explain the difference.
Who's right? All four pollsters have done a good job in recent Ohio elections. Last fall Barack Obama won the state by four points. PPP, SurveyUSA, and the Ohio Poll all came within two points of that outcome, and Quinnipiac came within three.
Hillary Clinton won the state's primary by ten points. SurveyUSA picked that outcome right on the nose, PPP and the Ohio Poll each came within a point, and Quinnipiac came within five points.
It's odd for a quartet of outfits that have all shown a good track record of predicting Ohio election outcomes to show such divergent numbers, but that's probably at least somewhat attributable to the amount of time before the election, and it will doubtless become clearer as we move toward 2010 just how vulnerable Strickland is or is not.