Gov. John Kasich is now Ohio voters’ favorite to take on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest, a new poll shows.
But the poll shows that Clinton is still favored over Kasich 47 to 42 percent. The margin is smaller than it was in February when Clinton was over Kasich 51 to 39 percent.
It’s likely a result of Kasich’s campaign spending around $1 million in advertising for the Republican’s re-election, says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.
As in the university’s February poll, Clinton beats all GOP contenders. But the results are closer this time around, and Kasich has taken over the spot from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as the top challenger to the former secretary of state and first lady. Kasich trails by only 5 points now; he was down by a dozen in February.
“Most of the GOP candidates are bunched together, trailing by high single digits in trial heats,” Brown said. “Kasich's standing might seem logical given his home field advantage, but in February Kasich trailed Ms. Clinton by a dozen points and was down in the pack. Still Ms. Clinton has the best favorability rating of the group.”
Here’s a look Clinton vs. the rest of the GOP match-ups:
48 - 39 percent Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
47 - 40 percent over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida;
49 - 41 percent over U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky;
46 - 38 percent over N.J. Gov. Christopher Christie;
48 - 41 percent over U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin;
51 - 37 percent over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas;
49 - 41 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Kasich, who is running for re-election in November, has said repeatedly that he has is not focused on 2016.
The poll also shows that President Barack Obama’s job approval remains in a rut with 39 to 58 percent approval rating, compared to a negative 40 to 55 percent score three months ago.
"President Barack Obama's job approval remains stuck at about 40 percent in Ohio. Although he is not on the ballot this November, such a consistently low rating can't be helpful to the Democratic ticket, especially gubernatorial nominee Ed Fitzgerald who currently trails Gov. Kasich 50 - 35 percent and is somewhat of an unknown to Ohio voters. If the president's numbers remain in the basement, look for Kasich's TV ads to tie Fitzgerald to the president," Brown said.
The telephone poll, which includes land lines and cell phones, of 1,174 registered Ohio voters May 7 through Tuesday has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
By Darrel Rowland & Michelle Everhart - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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