Republican John Kasich remains in command of the Ohio governor’s race with a 51 – 41 percent likely voter lead over Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, statistically unchanged from Kasich’s 50 – 41 percent edge October 5, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today, two weeks before Election Day.
Kasich’s lead is built on a 59 – 32 percent margin among independent likely voters, and a 64 – 29 percent spread among white evangelical Christians, according to the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey conducted by live interviewers.
President Barack Obama remains unpopular among Ohio voters who disapprove 56 – 40 percent of the job he is doing and say 32 – 9 percent they are less likely rather than more likely to vote for Strickland because the President is campaigning for the governor. Independent voters say 35 – 4 percent that Obama’s campaigning makes them less likely to vote for Strickland.
“John Kasich’s lead has remained the same and the sand is slipping through the hour glass. If Gov. Ted Strickland is going to turn this election around, he needs to do it quickly,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But the obvious question is, ‘What can Strickland do in the two weeks before Election Day that he has been unable to do so far?’”
Women voters split with 46 percent for Kasich and 45 percent for Strickland. But Kasich leads 55 – 37 percent among men. Kasich leads among Republicans 91 – 5 percent while Democrats back Strickland 84 – 7 percent.
“Although it is hypothetically possible, it’s difficult to see how anyone can win a statewide election when they are getting beat so badly among independents. The race may be a dead heat among women, but it is a landslide among men,” said Brown. “President Barack Obama’s 63 percent disapproval rating among independent voters is an extremely heavy anchor around Ted Strickland’s neck.”
Not only is Kasich ahead, but only 8 percent of his supporters say they might change their minds, compared to 12 percent of Strickland’s backers.
Strickland is viewed favorably by 43 percent of likely voters, including just 34 percent of independents, and unfavorably by 47 percent. Those numbers are better for the governor, however, than his job approval rating, which shows voters giving him a 54 – 39 percent thumbs down.
Kasich, a former congressman, gets a favorable opinion rating from 47 percent, with an unfavorable score of 33 percent.
“The economy is the defining issue in the race for governor. Strickland holds an overwhelming 89 – 6 percent lead among the likely voters who think the economy is improving, but they make up only 19 percent of the electorate. Kasich dominates the 36 percent who think the economy is getting worse 76 – 13 percent. The 45 percent of voters who think the economy is staying the same back Kasich 50 – 43 percent,” said Brown.
Kasich’s lead in the horse race is backed up by his 52 – 38 percent lead as the candidate best able to turn around the Ohio economy and his 48 – 40 percent lead as the candidate who most shares voters’ values.
“Anything is possible in politics, but if Gov. Strickland is able to pull out a victory it will take the kind of final drive that makes history,” said Brown.
From October 12 – 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,188 Ohio likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.
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