Ohio Gov. John Kasich is in the driver’s seat on road to re-election

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Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has the support of half the state’s electorate and leads his Democratic challenger by 50-35 percent in his re-election bid, a new poll said.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said Mr. Kasich leads among an array of voter groups, except Democrats, as he leverages high performance ratings to put distance between himself and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

Voters have a favorable opinion of the incumbent governor by a 47-29 percent margin, while 63 percent of voters do not know enough about Mr. FitzGerald to offer an opinion of him.

“Ohio Gov. John Kasich has opened up a 15-point lead in his re-election race as voters give him sterling grades for his job performance, especially on the economy,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “He gets plus-50 percent approval ratings from voters on his handling of the economy and the state budget. These numbers are crucial because the economy and jobs are the most important issues in the minds of voters.”

The poll suggests that Mr. FitzGerald’s biggest challenge is name recognition.

“Democratic optimists will argue that with six months until Election Day, FitzGerald has a golden opportunity to reach all those voters,” Mr. Brown said. “He’s going to have to spend a lot of money on that introduction while the better-funded Kasich will introduce FitzGerald to those same voters in a much less flattering way.”

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