By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich’s approval numbers continued their upward trend in the latest survey of registered Ohio voters.
More than half —53 percent — of 1,011 questioned by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said they approved of Kasich’s work in office, the highest total the governor has received since taking office. Only 32 percent said they disapproved of his efforts.
Kasich also is leading four potential Democratic challengers, with former Attorney General Richard Cordray coming closest (losing 44 percent to 38 percent).
Kasich outpaced Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, current U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton by margins of 7 to 10 percentage points, though many voters indicated they didn’t know enough about the candidates to form an opinion.
“What a difference a few months make,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a released statement. “Not that long ago, Democrats were licking their lips at the prospect of taking on an unpopular governor who had a disapproval rating in the 50s. Now his job disapproval rating is just 32 percent, and his chances of re-election appear to be much better than they were thought to be as recently as December.”
Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohioans’ opinions on candidates and issues. The poll results have a margin of error of about 3 points.
Among those involved in the institute’s polling over the past week, 46 percent said Kasich deserves re-election, versus 36 percent who said he did not. The former included 17 percent of the Democrats questioned.
Additionally, 45 percent agreed with Kasich’s handling of the state budget, compared with 39 percent who said the opposite. And 51 percent said they thought Kasich had kept his campaign promises, versus 30 percent who said he had not.
Kasich’s popularity also is on the uptick, with 48 percent of respondents saying they had a favorable opinion of the governor, and 32 percent saying the opposite. That compares to 40 percent-34 percent during Quinnipiac’s December poll.
“When Kasich assumed office, he followed a strategy of taking the political pain early in his administration in hopes that would solve problems and lead to better days down the road,” Brown said. “We’re halfway down that road now, and that strategy appears to have been successful so far.”