Ohio's governor race is a year away but already heating up across the state, new poll says

HAMDEN, Conn. - The Ohio governor's race is heating up according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday which shows Governor John Kasich has a 44 percent to 37 percent lead over Democratic challenger, current Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

This is down however from a 47 percent to 33 lead for Kasich in a June 25 survey done by Quinnipiac University.

Breaking the numbers down even further, men back the governor 48 percent to 35 percent while women are divided with 39 percent for Kasich and 38 percent for FitzGerald.

As for the job Kasich is doing as governor, the poll found voters approve of his performance 52 to 33 percent which is close to his all-time job approval rating.

In a press release, Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said, "Ohio Governor John Kasich enters his reelection year with only a 7-point lead over a largely unknown challenger. On the plus side, his approval ratings mark a huge turnaround from his first two years, which his job approval rating was in the 30's and Democrats were licking their chops at the prospect of making him a one-timer. But he's below the 50 percent mark in the matchup and on whether he deserves reelection."

Brown went on to add that, "Democrat Ed FitzGerald has a long way to go to introduce himself to the voters of Ohio. Only about one in four voters know enough about him to have an opinion, meaning 3 to 4 don't know much about him."

The Quinnipiac University poll also asked about increasing the number of people eligible for Medicaid. 51 percent of Ohio voters said it was a good idea, while 40 percent said it was a bad idea.

When broken down to parties, support of expanding Medicaid is 74 to 16 percent among Democrats, 51 to 40 percent among independent voters with Republicans opposed 65 to 28 percent.

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