Ohio Governor Kasich’s Approval At All-Time High

John Kasich

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday, Ohio governor John Kasich’s approval is at an all-time high among voters in the Buckeye State.

The Quinnipiac poll finds Kasich, a first-term Republican, with a 52 percent approval rating among Ohio voters. Similarly, the governor’s favorability is at 47 percent — its second highest point since he was contemplating his run in 2008, when it bottomed out at 18 percent.

Ohio voters credit Governor Kasich with improving the state’s improved economy. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said of the poll results: “Ohio voters think their economy is getting better and they credit Mr. Kasich more than they credit President Barack Obama for that brightening economic environment. Of course there are still 16 months until Election Day, so anything can happen. After all, 16 months ago, Kasich’s job approval was a negative 40-46 percent, at the beginning of his reversal of fortunes from when his job approval was in the 30s.”

Governor Kasich’s approval has come a long way since he entered the gubernatorial race in 2009.

From January to September 2009, incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland held a solid lead over Kasich — even reaching 30 percent at one point. The poll turned slightly in Kasich’s favor just in time for the election. While he was able to win the governorship in 2010, his subsequent approval rating was nothing to brag about.

According to a separate Quinnipiac poll from May 2011, 49 percent of Ohioans had an unfavorable opinion of the recently elected governor. That number got even worse for Kasich when he introduced Senate Bill 5, an anti-union bill that would have withheld collective bargaining rights from public employees. The governor’s approval rating slipped to a dismal 38 to 50 percent after backing SB 5.  Although a majority of voters in Ohio stood in opposition to this measure, Kasich still signed it into law in March 2011 — only to see it overturned at the ballot box in a November 2011 referendum.

Since that defeat, however, Kasich’s approval has climbed out of the red zone. By December 2012, Ohio voters gave Kasich his first positive approval rating. That number has only continued to climb since Kasich fought for Medicaid expansion through Obamacare.

While Kasich narrowly defeated Strickland in 2010 by just a 49-47 margin, his prospects for 2014 are much brighter. The Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday shows Kasich ahead of two potential Democratic opponents— Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Richard Cordray, the director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, with 47 percent of the vote over each candidate.

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

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