Despite being unknown to seven out of 10 Ohio registered voters, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fitzgerald is gaining on Republican incumbent governor John Kasich, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
In the poll, conducted Nov. 19-24, Kasich had 44 percent to FitzGerald’s 37 percent. In June, Kasich held a 14 percentage point lead over FitzGerald, who is the elected Cuyahoga County executive.
Still, in the poll of 1,361 registered voters, Kasich has a relatively high approval rating of 52 percent – two percentage points lower than his approval rating in June. One-third of those polled said they disapprove of Kasich’s performance.
The poll showed that FitzGerald, who chose State Sen. Eric Kearney of North Avondale as his running mate last week, is still relatively unknown to Ohio voters, with 71 percent saying they don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
“Ohio Gov. John Kasich enters his re-election year with only a seven-point lead over a largely unknown challenger,’’ said Peter Brown, assistant director of the poll at the Connecticut university.
On the plus side, Brown said, Kasich’s “approval ratings mark a huge turnaround from his first two years, when his job approval rating was in the 30s and Democrats were licking their chops at the prospect of making him a one-termer.”
The poll showed Kasich leading among male voters 48 percent to 35 percent. Women voters are divided, with 39 percent for Kasich and 38 percent for FitzGerald.
The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.