PPP's newest Ohio Governor poll finds a toss up race, with Democratic challenger Ed FitzGerald holding a slight lead over John Kasich at 38/35.
The closeness of the race is more of a reflection on Kasich than FitzGerald. He has a negative approval rating with 42% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove. That represents a 10 point net decline from our last Ohio poll in November when he was at 45/40. FitzGerald meanwhile remains unknown to most voters in the state with 62% not having an opinion about him one way or the other- among those who do have one 20% see him positively and 18% in a negative light.
Kasich's winning 68% of the Republican vote right now compared to FitzGerald's 61% of Democrats. What's giving FitzGerald his slight overall lead is a 40/31 advantage with independents. Kasich's approval with them is particularly poor at 34/52.
It's a mixed bag for the other statewide Republicans we tested in this poll:
-On the other side of the spectrum it's clear that Josh Mandel did a lot of damage to himself in his Senate campaign last year. Our final poll of that contest found him with a 36/50 favorability rating, and he hasn't done much to rehabilitate his image since then. Only 30% of voters approve of the job he's doing as Treasurer to 41% who disapprove, and he trails 40/35 in a head to head with challenger Connie Pillich.
-And splitting the difference between DeWine and Mandel's standing is Secretary of State Jon Husted. Voters are evenly divided on his job performance with 28% approving, 28% disapproving, and the largest group at 44% not having an opinion either way. Voters are almost as divided when it comes to his standing for reelection- he leads Democratic challenger Nina Turner by a single point at 37/36.
It's early but it looks like Ohio could be set for some pretty exciting races in 2014.
Full results here