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COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich’s approval rating is in positive territory for the first time since he took office, but voters aren’t ready to say he deserves re-election, a poll released today showed.
Forty-two percent of registered voters approve of his job performance to date compared to 35 percent who disapprove, the new poll from Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University found. Apparently, voters are giving the Republican governor at least some credit for Ohio’s better-than-average economic performance compared to the nation as a whole.
But 43 percent of those voters say he shouldn’t be re-elected, compared to 36 percent who believe he should. Forty-four percent say another Republican should challenge him in the 2014 primary, and he remains under water in terms of voter approval of his policies.
“Things are looking better for Gov. John Kasich,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But it is not all blue skies as Governor. Kasich enters the last half of his term.
“His job approval rating is positive for the first time among registered voters, although he started getting positive scores in Quinnipiac University surveys of likely voters during the presidential race,” he said.
In comparison, President Obama gets a 54 percent thumbs-up from registered voters just weeks after barely 50 percent voted to re-elect him. The President also seemed to get some credit during the election for Ohio’s economic performance and the bailout of the auto industry.
That 54 percent represents his best number since he hit 67 percent in February, 2009, just after taking office.
Among potential Democratic challengers to Mr. Kasich in two years, former Gov. Ted Strickland gets the highest marks from voters with a favorability rating of 41 percent. That number, however, is lower than what he was registering in the heat of the 2010 election that he ended up losing to Mr. Kasich.
Richard Cordray, former state attorney general and treasurer and now Mr. Obama’s consumer watchdog, barely registers with a favorability rating of 19 percent. The vast majority of voters don’t know enough about him despite his frequent appearances on the statewide ballot in recent years.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, who has yet to appear on a statewide ballot, is even more unknown with just a 10 percent favorability number. Youngstown area Congressman Tim Ryan came in at 15 percent.
As for Mr. Kasich, 43 percent of those questioned say they like him as a person, but an identical number say they don’t like his policies. Just 38 percent approve of his policies.
These numbers come as Mr. Kasich is setting the stage for an aggressive second half that he expects to include education funding reform, a second two-year budget containing tax reform, and a tapping of the value of the Ohio Turnpike to fund highway and bridge construction projects across the state.
On Monday, while speaking to county commissioners and engineers at their winter meeting in Columbus, Mr. Kasich pointed to the recent presidential election and the role that Ohio’s stronger economic and employment numbers played in the campaign.
“What is fantastic is the argument about the state of Ohio that went on all over the country as to who gets the credit for the good things happening in Ohio,” he said. “It’s so much better than having the discussion about who gets the blame for the bad things that are happening in Ohio.”
He said he has accepted an invitation to speak about “the Ohio miracle” in Switzerland at a world economic forum.