Gov. John Kasich is in a statistical tie with Donald Trump heading into Ohio’s March 15 primary. That’s one of the findings of a Baldwin Wallace University Community Research Institute Poll released Wednesday.
The poll has Trump leading with 31 percent of the vote followed by Kasich with 29 percent, within the polls 5 percent margin of error. Far off the pace were Ted Cruz 11 percent, Marco Rubio's 10 percent and Ben Carson with 8 percent.
"I think the biggest thing is that this shows that John Kasich has the home state advantage in Ohio,” said Tom Sutton,director of BW’s CRI.
The poll also looked at what if the Republican primary were only a two man contest between Kasich and Trump. In that case Kasich won by 17 points with 55 percent of the vote to Trump’s 38 percent.
“I think that that was really a surprise and it was again showing that because he's the one who is better known, he is seen as more of a conservative perhaps, that perhaps plays well to Ohio voters. I think that there's some concern about what Donald Trump might represent among Ohio voters," Sutton said.
Beyond the primary the polls show Trump beating Hillary Clinton in a general election matchup by two points, 39 to 37 percent, and beating Bernie Sanders by five points, 43 to 38 percent, but that margin of victory grows for Kasich over Sanders to 17 points, 52-35 percent, and 21 points over Clinton, 55-34 percent.
"Head to head he's clearly the one that people are looking for so that, the 62 percent approval rating among Ohio voters I think John Kasich really has a good shot at possibly winning Ohio," Sutton said.
The poll had the Democratic Presidential race close with Sanders leading Clinton 45 to 44 percent.
The poll also asked about the U.S. Senate race with incumbent Sen. Rob Portman leading Democrat Ted Strickland 44 to 40 percent. Portman leads Strickland’s primary challenger P.G. Sittenfeld 51 to 26 percent.