Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State in Lima, Ohio, on Feb. 19, 2013.
Rick Osentoski/AP

Ohio Gov holds slim lead over unknown challenger


Ohio’s Republican Gov. John Kasich is polling five points ahead of his likely November challenger, Democrat and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

It’s a slim lead for an incumbent when the likely challenger is widely unknown.

Kasich lead 43 to 38%, according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll, down slightly from a few months ago, when Kasich lead 44 to 37%.

The poll gives FitzGerald the biggest opportunity for growth: 70% of respondents told Quinnipiac they don’t know enough to form an opinion on the candidate. Just 24% said the same of the governor.

It also found that in the last three months, FitzGerald has made little dent in getting the word out. 

A full 51% of Ohioans approved of the job Kasich is doing—a good sign as approval ratings historically correlate with re-election rates—but he struggles with the swing state’s voters in a few areas.

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The first-term governor struggled with voters who felt he doesn’t care about their needs: 47% of voters said the Republican governor doesn’t care about their needs and problems, compared to 43% who said he does.

Voters in the swing state named jobs and the economy and jobs as their number one priority, giving the governor a 44% approval rating—and 46% disapproval rating—on it. 

FitzGerald is a clear favorite in the May primary for the Democratic governor’s ticket. Democrats and women are already supporting him in large numbers: 42% of women backed the Democrat and 74% of Democrats supported the candidate. Kasich leads with men and Republicans.

The poll was conducted earlier this month, sampling 1,370 registered voters by landline and mobile phone. The margin of error is +/-2.7 points.

John Kasich

Ohio Gov holds slim lead over unknown challenger