Ohioans overwhelmingly approve of the job Republican Gov. John Kasich is doing and say he deserves a second term, a new Quinnipiac University poll reveals.
"Ohio Gov. John Kasich has opened up a 15-point lead in his re-election race as voters give him sterling grades for his job performance, especially on the economy," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll,
"He gets plus-50 percent approval ratings from voters on his handling of the economy and the state budget. These numbers are crucial because the economy and jobs are the most important issues in the minds of voters," Brown said.
The poll of 1,174 registered voters, conducted last week, shows Kasich over the 50 percentage point mark on several measures, including a 50-35 percent lead over his Democratic challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.
Kasich's numbers are up since February, when he had a 43-38 percent lead in a separate Quinnipiac survey. Although he angered conservatives
when he accepted $2.5 billion in federal money under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to help low-income Ohioans, that was not enough to cost him the primary battle earlier this month.
Voters in the current survey said they approve, by 56-33 percent, of the job Kasich is doing, marking his best score since his 2010 election. Kasich also leads FitzGerald by 56-30 percent among men and 45-40 percent among women.
He also enjoys an overwhelming 92-2 percent lead among Republicans and a 49-32 percent lead among independents, according to the poll. But Democrats back their candidate by a margin of 77-12 percent.
FitzGerald is facing some name recognition issues, the poll reveals, with 63 percent of respondents saying they did not know enough about him to form an opinion.
"Democratic optimists will argue that with six months until Election Day, FitzGerald has a golden opportunity to reach all those voters," said Brown. "He's going to have to spend a lot of money on that introduction while the better-funded Kasich will introduce FitzGerald to those same voters in a much less flattering way."
Most Ohioans have a favorable opinion about the governor.
"Voters think Gov. Kasich deserves another term, and two-thirds consider him a strong leader," said Brown.
"A small majority says he cares about their needs, a measure on which Republicans, even successful ones, often don't do that well. And perhaps most important for Kasich's re-election, 60 percent of voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the state."
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