Following its release Thursday of a poll showing the good news that Ohio Gov. John Kasich has finally broken through the 50-percent barrier for job approval, Quinnipiac Poll released a sequel today showing Ohio voters, by a margin of 48 - 42 percent, think the governor's plan to reduce the state income tax and increase revenues from the sales tax is a bad idea.
Hurdles ahead for Kasich
"Gov. John Kasich is popular, but voters don't like his view that the income tax should be cut and the sales tax broadened as a preferable way to raise state revenue," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "When it is explained to them that Kasich wants to cut the income tax from 5.5 to 5 percent and increase the services that would be subject to the sales tax, they like that idea even less, 51 - 40 percent."
Ohio voters say 39 - 14 percent that the new health law, dubbed Obamacare, will hurt rather than help them personally. Another 39 percent say it won't affect them. Voters agree 48 - 42 percent with the idea of opening up the state Medicaid program to more recipients.
"Although voters overall like expanding Medicaid, Republicans oppose it 65 - 24 percent, a significant number given the GOP House could block the plan," said Brown.
Democrats say 71 - 22 percent that Medicaid expansion is a good idea and independent voters agree 48 - 43 percent. Looking at the overall Affordable Care Act, however, Ohio voters disapprove 48 - 39 percent.
"Most important politically, independent voters say 43 - 13 percent that the new health care law will hurt them personally," Brown said. Republicans by 65 - 1 percent expect ACA to hurt them personally, while Democrats say 25 - 12 percent it will help them. Men say 42 - 14 percent it will hurt, and women agree 36 - 15 percent.
Ohio voters, including 86 percent of voters in households where there is a gun, favor background checks for all gun, results that mirror results in other states surveyed by the independent polling operation. By a smaller 53 - 44 percent margin, voters favor a nationwide ban on assault weapons. Gun-owners oppose such a ban 60 - 38 percent.
Ohio voters say 57 - 33 percent that gun ownership makes people safer rather than less safe and say 49 - 40 percent that the National Rifle Association rather than President Barack Obama best reflects their views on guns.
"On gun policy public opinion might be seen as a paradox," said Brown. "Voters overwhelming favor background checks for those buying guns and want to ban assault weapons and ammunition clips with more than 10 bullets - positions that are in opposition to those espoused by the NRA. Yet, they see the NRA more in tune with their views on gun policy than President Barack Obama, who favors background checks and bans on assault weapons and high- capacity magazines.
"Moreover, on the key question of whether guns make society safer or less safe, by almost 2-1 voters see them as making society safer. Asked whether they would favor stricter gun control laws, 41 percent say yes, while 11 percent say they should be made less strict and 44 percent say existing laws are about right."
Ohio voters are divided in their opinion of President Barack Obama, giving him a 48 - 47 percent job approval rating. In terms of how people like him personally, he gets virtually an identical score, with 49 percent viewing him favorably, 46 percent unfavorably.
From February 21 - 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,011 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
Tea Party turns feisty
In recent weeks, Ohio's Tea Party movement has told Gov. Kasich in no uncertain terms that his decision to expand Medicare, made possible by last year's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court declaring the Affordable Care Act constitutional, is a bad idea that won't bode well for him.
In a telephone conversation today with Mary McCleary, a volunteer spokesman for the Ohio Liberty Coalition, CGE asked if the OLC will further take on Gov. Kasich by fielding their own candidate for governor. McCleary, a financial analyst who lives in Columbus, said there are no plans today to enter the race for governor.
"For now, we're not actively searching for somebody," she said, cautioning that circumstances could change. Addressing the issue of whether the governor can count on support at the ballot box from Tea Party individuals and groups in two years as he did in 2010 when Republicans rousted Democrats from all statewide office seats, McCleary said, "He [Kasich] may have a hard time reenergizing the conservative base," voters she said are upset with his decision to expand Medicaid and who don't particularly like what he wants to do on tax reform.
Any challenge to Kasich, she said, will likely come at the primary level. As for the Ohio legislature, which can approve or deny Gov. Kasich his will on Medicaid, McCleary said no one has been targeted yet. "We're not targeting anyone in particular, but we are aware that if they support the expansion of Medicaid, they'll be on notice from us."
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