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MCAP releases inaugural Ohio poll

Friday, November 22, 2013

While Ohioans give a collective thumbs down to the Obama administration, one out of two Ohio voters say their governor – John Kasich – is getting the job done, according to a new poll released today by Mercyhurst University.

The poll of the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) sampled 437 registered voters in Ohio (MOE +/- 4.69 percent) on leadership and the economy at the state and national levels. This marks MCAP's inaugural foray into Ohio as it attempts to build name recognition and reputation in this key battleground state.

In the aftermath of the federal government shutdown and a problem-plagued roll-out of the Affordable Care Act, a solid majority of registered voters in Ohio (59%) disapproves of the job Barack Obama is doing as President; only a third (33%) say they approve. 

Republicans and Democrats in Congress fare even worse. Two thirds (66%) of registered voters disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in Congress (22% approve). Nearly as many (62%) disapprove of the Democrats’ job performance (26% approve). 

Still, the frustration with Washington has not translated to Ohio’s chief executive, John Kasich.  Half (50%) of Ohio’s registered voters approve of the job he is doing as governor, with roughly one-third (35%) disapproving. In spite of recent indications that the performance of the state’s economy is beginning to reflect that of the nation as a whole, more Ohio voters offer positive assessments of their state’s economy than they do of the nation’s economy as a whole.

The perception that Ohio’s economy is outperforming the nation’s economy may be partially responsible for Governor Kasich’s 50 percent job approval. Further, said MCAP pollster Joseph Morris, D.A., “Although Governor Kasich has been criticized by his party for deciding to expand Medicaid, it appears that it was a popular decision among Ohio voters.”

Only 19 percent of Ohio voters describe the nation’s economy as “good” (0% “excellent,” 80% “not so good” or “poor”), while 36 percent say Ohio’s economy is “excellent” (1%) or “good” (35%).  Sixty-two percent say “not so good” (43%) or “poor” (19%).  While a plurality (40%) of Ohio voters says the state’s economy is “about the same” as the nation’s economy, more than one-third (36%) say it is “much” (4%) or “somewhat” (32%) better. 

“This poll is a snapshot of a moment in time, and the moment we captured was perhaps the worst in the Obama presidency,” said Morris. “We polled Ohio voters just weeks after a 16-day shutdown of the federal government and in the midst of a disastrous roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.  There has been little, if any, good news out of Washington for some time, and the results of this poll reflect that.”

Looking ahead to 2016, Ohio voters have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton (54%) and an unfavorable opinion of Joe Biden (52%).  Nearly a majority (49%) of voters has a favorable opinion of Chris Christie, but 20% say they do not recognize him.  A plurality of Ohio voters does not recognize Ted Cruz (39%) or Marco Rubio (36%).

MCAP is the only independent, nonpartisan research organization in northwest Pennsylvania that aims to regularly conduct public opinion polls on issues of regional, state and national concern. Dr. Joseph Morris is director; Dr. Rolfe Peterson is associate director and methodologist.

For complete poll results, click here.  And please follow us via the MCAP website, Facebook and Twitter.