Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is still going all out to defeat a referendum next week that would repeal his union-busting bill, curtailing collective-bargaining rights in the state.

He may, however, have just lost some support from football fans.

As part of his campaign in support of Issue 2, Kasich realizes he has a lot of ground to make up, since polls show voters leaning against the anti-worker law. To make this point this week, he decided to turn to a sports analogy.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) fumbled the facts of Cleveland football history this week, when he tried — and failed — to make a sports analogy about heroic comebacks.

Kasich, in the midst of a fervent statewide tour in support of Ohio’s Issue 2, a ballot measure to affirm the state’s anti-collective bargaining legislation signed by the governor earlier this year, ran into trouble when asked if he thought his outmanned effort could stand up to well-organized pro-union forces.

As the governor put it, “We never thought [former Cleveland Browns quarterback] Bernie Kosar would bring the Browns back and win that big championship game.” In this little analogy, if Kosar could lead a comeback to win the championship, then maybe Kasich can lead a comeback to defend union-busting.

The problem is that Kosar never brought the Browns back to win that big championship game. Cleveland is one of just four NFL teams to never appear in a Super Bowl, and the Browns have gone 0 for 3 in conference title games.

I suspect there are a few fans in Cleveland who are aware of this little detail.

On a more serious note, though, Kasich may not know local sports history very well, but he knows how to recruit right-wing financiers to help his anti-worker campaign.

In case you needed further proof of how enormous the stakes are in the Ohio labor fight for national conservatives, consider this: Right wing groups are pouring over $2 million into TV ad campaigns in the final few days of the fight, I’m told.

National conservative groups view the showdown over Issue 2 — a referendum on Governor John Kasich’s law rolling back bargaining rights — as the central front in their drive to break labor’s back in the middle of the industrial heartland. Polls show that labor is poised to win this fight, though union operatives aren’t all sanguine.

The election is Tuesday.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.