There's been a decent amount of buzz lately about John Kasich potentially being a candidate for President in 2016 but our newest poll finds that most Ohio voters- including Republicans- aren't on board.
Kasich manages only a tie for fifth in a hypothetical 2016 primary field in his home state, registering at 8%. Rand Paul and Chris Christie lead the pack with 17% each followed by Jeb Bush at 10%, Marco Rubio at 9%, Kasich and Paul Ryan at 8%, Ted Cruz at 6%, and Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum at 4%.
It gets worse for Kasich when it comes to the general electorate- he trails Hillary Clinton by 18 points in a hypothetical match up, 53/35. Clinton looks very strong in Ohio- leading Chris Christie 45/36, Jeb Bush 50/36, Rand Paul 51/36, and Paul Ryan 52/36 as well- but Kasich does the weakest on the home front. One thing that is not helping his cause is the controversial abortion restrictions he signed into law this summer- only 34% of voters support them to 40% opposed.
Other notes from Ohio:
-For the first time ever PPP finds a plurality of Ohio voters in support of gay marriage- 48% favor it to 42% who are opposed. There's been a massive shift in attitudes over the last two years- in October of 2011 we found only 32% of voters supporting it and 55% against. Younger voters in particular are sparking the movement toward acceptance of same sex marriage- those under 45 favor it by a 64/28 margin.
When it comes to the broader issue of legal rights for gay couples, 69% of Ohioans support at least civil unions to only 27% opposed to any sort of recognition. Even Republican voters by a 54/39 margin favor those.
-And speaking of those expanded background checks, Ohio voters support them by a 78/15 margin and that continues to feature overwhelmingly bipartisan support. Democrats favor them 91/5, independents do 68/26, and Republicans support them by a 67/23 spread.
-LeBron James' image in Ohio has come a long way over the last three years. In August of 2010 he had a 19/34 favorability rating in the state shortly after his unpopular Decision to leave the Cavs for the Heat. But 2 championships and a lot of apologies later James is back in the good graces of his home state- 32% of voters of voters see him favorably to 29% with a negative opinion. It might not be great but it's a net 18 points better than it used to be.
-Ohio might have some bandwagon baseball fans. 2 years ago we found that 34% of voters in the state were Indians fans to 25% for the Reds. But a division title and another playoff bid pending later the Reds have wrested top honors from the Indians by a 32/26 spread. The Cubs at 8%, Tigers at 6%, Braves at 5%, Yankees at 4%, Pirates at 3%, and Red Sox at 2% round out Ohio's favorite teams.
-Last summer when we asked Ohio State fans whether they'd rather have Urban Meyer or Jim Tressel as their football coach they were pretty evenly divided- 38% favored Meyer to 33% who went with Tressel. An undefeated season has a way to move attitudes about things though, and now Meyer wins out 51/22 on that question. Meyer has a 72/3 approval rating, but Tressel remains very popular as well with a 62/12 favorability spread.
A former Buckeye faring less well is departed President Gordon Gee- his overall favorability rating is a negative 22/31 spread, although he is at least on slightly positive ground with those who identify as Ohio State fans at 32/26.
-When it comes to NFL teams we find the same thing we did last August- Browns fans outnumber Bengals ones- this year by a 36/25 margin. But when it comes to expectations for this season, 43% think the Bengals will be better on the field to 32% who go with the Browns.
-And finally there's much debate between backers of the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina, both of whom refer to their schools as 'Carolina,' about which is the 'real Carolina.' So with the teams kicking off their football seasons against each other Thursday we decided to take the question to someone without a vested interested in the outcome- the people of Ohio. They say by a 67/33 margin that the Tar Heels are the real 'Carolina.' Somehow I don't think that will end the debate though.
Full results here