Ohio Gov. John Kasich is maintaining his new-found popularity with Ohio voters, according to a new poll.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday found that 52 percent of voters approve of the job Kasich is doing as Ohio’s governor, and gave him a comfortable advantage against either of his two likely Democratic challengers in 2014.
In the last Quinnipiac poll, released Feb. 28., Kasich enjoyed an all-time high approval rating of 53 percent. The 1 percent dip is within the newest poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error, and is not statistically significant.
“In a state where self-described Democrats outnumber Republicans 35 - 27 percent, Kasich seems to be in reasonably good shape as he looks ahead to the 2014 gubernatorial election,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The fact that he leads his two potential Democratic opponents by 20 and 17 points respectively among the key independent voting bloc is a good indication that he starts the campaign with the voting public seeing him positively.”
Kasich’s approval rating hovered in the 30s during much of the beginning of his term in 2011. Last December, he got his first overall thumbs-up from voters with a 42 percent approval rating.
A particularly encouraging sign for Kasich is 49 percent of voters approve of how he is handling the economy, Brown said. Regardless of what happens in Columbus, voters ultimately decide whether to support a governor largely if they feel their lives are getting better, he said.
“Ohio’s improving economy, and voters’ perceptions that the economy is doing better than the rest of the country, is a huge boost to him,” he said.
Meanwhile, the poll shows two possible Democratic challengers — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray — have their work cut out for them.
Kasich led FitzGerald 46-37 percent, and Cordray 45-38 percent. FitzGerald has filed the necessary paperwork to run for governor but hasn’t yet officially declared his candidacy. Cordray is the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which forbids him from running for office, but is considered a possible gubernatorial candidate if Republicans in Washington, D.C., block his nomination.
The poll shows that there is a gender gap in Kasich’s support. Among men, Kasich enjoys a 51-32 percent lead over FitzGerald, while women are evenly split 41-41 percent. Against Cordray, Kasich leads 52-34 percent among men, while Cordray leads Kasich among women 43-39 percent.
Any support for FitzGerald and Cordray against Kasich came despite the vast majority of voters not knowing who they are. For Cordray, 66 percent of voters said they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. For Fitzgerald, 76 percent don’t know enough.
From April 10 - 15, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,138 registered voters. To conduct the poll, live interviewers called both land lines and cell phones.
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Today, Quinnipiac will release results of a poll looking at gun laws and gay marriage. We’ll have results as soon as they are released on our website and in Saturday’s newspaper.