By JOE HALLETT
The Columbus Dispatch
Signaling trouble for Democrats in the 2014 election, President Barack Obama’s approval rating has plummeted in Ohio to the lowest point of his presidency, according to a survey released today by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Only 34 percent of Ohio voters approve of Obama’s job performance
while 61 percent disapprove, his lowest score in any Quinnipiac University poll nationally or in any state.
In an early look at the race for the White House in 2016, the poll also shows that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic former secretary of state, and New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie are in a virtual dead heat, with Clinton fetching 42 percent support from Ohio voters to Christie’s 41 percent. The poll also shows that if the presidential election were held today Clinton and Ohio Gov. John Kasich were the GOP nominee, Clinton would beat him by 11 points, 49-38.
Obama’s 27-point job-approval deficit in Ohio top his previous low of 40-57 percent in a June 26 Quinnipiac survey, and is worse than his previous low in any state. Colorado voters gave him a thumbs down 36-59 percent on Nov. 20.
Noting that Obama’s approval rating has dropped below 40 percent for the first time in Ohio, Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, said, “This is a state considered a national bellwether where he got 51 percent of the vote just 12 months ago. Only 30 percent of men, 38 percent of women and 27 percent of white voters, along with 83 percent of black voters, give him a thumbs up.
Only 3 percent of Ohio Republicans approve of Obama’s job performance, while 30 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats approve.
Ohio voters also say by a 57-39 percent margin that Obama is not honest and trustworthy, also his lowest score on honesty in any Quinnipiac poll.
“Clearly much of the reason for the president’s decline in Ohio is Obamacare,” Brown said. “Ohio voters oppose the Affordable Care Act 59-38 percent. Perhaps more significantly, voters say 45-16 percent they expect their own health care to be worse rather than better a year from now.”
Obama’s sinking approval rating and pessimism over health care portend trouble for Democrats, Brown said: “If voters still feel that way about their own situation come November 2014, that is likely to create a political playing field beneficial for Republicans. Voters still blame Republicans more for the government shutdown, but that issue’s salience is being dwarfed by the opposition to Obamacare.”
Along with running neck-and-neck with Christie, Clinton shows comfortable early polling leads against other would-be GOP presidential candidates, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 50-37; U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, 48-39; U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 50-40; U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, 49-41; and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 50-35.
Ohio voters say Clinton would make a good president by a 54-40 percent score, the best of any contender measured in the poll, followed by Christie, 44-32 percent. On the question of whether a candidate would make a good president, no other candidate gets a positive score, including Kasich, who is at a negative 32-49 percent.
Also, Vice President Joe Biden is not viewed as presidential timber by Ohio voters - only 28 percent say he would make a good president.
Conducted between Nov. 19-24, the Connecticut-based university polled 1,361 registered voters in Ohio, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.7 percentage points.