Taft’s approval rating ‘abysmal’ at 16 percent

By Heather Rutz KRT

The latest Zogby International poll gives Ohio Gov. Bob Taft a 16 percent approval rating. That number is actually an increase from last fall, when it was 8 percent. Zogby, a well-respected polling firm, called the rating “abysmal.” The Akron Buckeye Poll, released in early April, found 64 percent of respondents said the state is on the wrong track.

It all gives Ken Blackwell reason to smile when he talks about a Cincinnati Enquirer article written seven years ago calling him the political anti-Taft.

“They thought they were putting an albatross around my neck,” said Blackwell, a Republican running for governor, who has done much to separate himself from Taft. “Little did they know they were building me a life raft.”

After Republicans have served as Ohio governor for 16 years and held nearly all other statewide executive offices for much of that time, the party this year is running in the face of a sluggish economy, ethics problems and illegal investment charges. Taft pleaded no contest last year to four misdemeanor counts for failing to properly report gifts on campaign finance reports.

GOP fundraiser Tom Noe will go on trial in August on charges that he stole at least $1 million from a rare coin fund in which the state had invested $50 million.

Because of the ethics and investment scandals and Ohio’s woeful economy, Democrats have the best chance in years to return to power.

“It would seem that this is the best place to test the ‘culture of corruption’ argument, which Democrats are trotting out around the country,” said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. “It may not work everywhere, but if it’s going to work anywhere, it’s going to be Ohio, with the problems the Republicans have had.”