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Published: Friday, 8/1/2014

Poll shows Clinton as favorite to win Ohio in presidential race

Paul listed as top GOP hope


COLUMBUS — Ohioans’ opinion of President Obama remains near an all-time low, but that is apparently not hurting Hillary Clinton as the critical swing state looks ahead at 2016, the latest Quinnipiac Poll showed Thursday.

Mrs. Clinton — the former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state — would defeat all Republican comers in hypothetical 2016 matchups, including one with Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

If that election were held today, 47 percent of registered Ohio voters say they would vote for Mrs. Clinton compared to 40 percent who say they would prefer the GOP governor currently seeking re-election to his current job.

A Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday showed Governor Kasich with a 12-point lead over his Democratic challenger, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, to keep his job in November.

The best GOP performer against Mrs. Clinton is U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who would get 42 percent of the vote to Mrs. Clinton’s 46 percent. That’s within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

In no scenario does she score higher than 50 percent. She does, however, have a 52 percent favorability rating among Ohio’s registered voters.

“Obviously there is a long way to go until 2016, but at this point the political problems the President is encountering are not rubbing off on her,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

Thirty-six percent of those questioned approve of the job performance of Mr. Obama, less than two years after the Buckeye State helped to keep him in the White House. Fifty-nine percent disapprove, slightly above the record low of 34 percent-to-61 percent last November, the lowest ever recorded by Quinnipiac in the nine states where the Connecticut-based university poll regularly questions voters.

“Only 3 in 10 men or independent voters approve of his job performance, a far cry from almost two years ago where he won the nation’s most important swing state,” Mr. Brown said. “And the Democratic approval rating in the low 70s is anemic, at best.”

The poll has Mrs. Clinton defeating former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 48 percent to 27 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 46 percent to 37 percent.

At one point, Mr. Christie had been one of Mrs. Clinton’s strongest competitors for the Buckeye vote, but he has fallen in their opinion since the bridge scandal early this year. He is now underwater with 34 percent having a favorable opinion of him compared to 36 percent who do not.

Mrs. Clinton’s numbers are strongest among women, although Mr. Paul is the only Republican who currently beats her in Ohio among independents.

The poll questioned 1,366 registered voters between July 24 and 28.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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