The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

May 15, 2014

Poll finds Ohio GOP governor leads Democratic opponent

COLUMBUS — Republican Gov. John Kasich is widening his lead over Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald with about six months to go before the election, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac University poll, the first survey taken since FitzGerald wrapped up his party’s nomination in last week’s primary, showed that most Ohioans don’t know much about the Democrat who serves as Cuyahoga County executive.

Overall, Kasich led FitzGerald 50-35 percent while two out of three voters in Ohio said they didn’t don’t know enough about FitzGerald to form an opinion of him, the poll found.

The governor’s lead widened from a 43-38 margin he held in mid-February in another Quinnipiac survey.

The poll numbers for FitzGerald, who easily defeated Larry Ellis Ealy for the Democratic nomination, have not changed much over the past year, remaining at below 40 percent.  

Kasich had a job approval rating of 56 percent for his first term while 33 percent gave him a failing grade.

Just over half of those surveyed gave Kasich a favorable mark on how he has handled the economy and jobs, which are the top two issues among voters, according to the poll.

Half the respondents said Ohio’s economy has improved over the last four years while 18 percent said it has gotten worse.

The state unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in March, the lowest rate in six years.

The poll also found that 69 percent of Ohioans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder while 25 percent oppose it.

But if given a choice between the death penalty and life in prison with no chance of parole, only 43 percent preferred the death penalty.

The survey of 1,174 Ohio voters was conducted by phone from May 7 to 12. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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