Election Day is a little more than three months away, and a new poll shows Gov. John Kasich holding onto a strong lead over his challenger, Ed FitzGerald. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, the poll shows that FitzGerald faces an uphill battle on several fronts.
The Democratic Cuyahoga County executive is trailing Kasich by 12 points in the latest Quinnipiac poll. What could be more alarming for FitzGerald's campaign is that 65 percent of those polled say they don’t know enough about him to even form an opinion.
As Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown explains, Ohio is a state where candidates need television ad time in order to build name recognition -- and to some degree, he said, time is running out for FitzGerald.
“These numbers are not hugely different from what they were three months ago, the last time Quinnipiac polled," Brown said. "The difference is the campaign’s now three months shorter.”
Kasich’s approval rating remains high at 55 percent, but one of his most controversial decisions as governor remains a hot topic for many voters.
Eighty percent – four out of five voters who responded to the survey – say the fight over the collective bargaining law that Kasich signed in 2011 and was repealed by voters is still important to them. And while 31 percent say the debate over Senate Bill 5 makes them less likely to vote for Kasich, 45 percent say it makes no difference.
“All of those things would give one the impression that SB5 would be having a detrimental effect to the governor’s reelection campaign," he said. "If so, that means he really would have been amazingly far ahead if that was the case. Or people may say yes, it’s important, but it may not deter them from voting for the governor.”
In general, 60 percent of those polled say they’re very or somewhat satisfied with the way things are going in Ohio – which is likely to help Kasich.
But Brown said a race is never over with three months left.
“Obviously, one would much rather be in Mr. Kasich’s shoes than Mr. FitzGerald's, but three months is a long time in politics," he said. "Three months is a long time in anything, and in politics it’s an especially long time.”
And 13 percent of the poll’s respondents say they are undecided on who they will choose for governor this fall.