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New Ohio poll: FitzGerald trails by 8%, but only 47% would rehire Kasich

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald spoke last Friday to an arena full of Democrats, who have their work cut out for them if he's to beat Gov. Kasich in November.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald spoke last Friday to an arena full of Democrats, who have their work cut out for them if he's to beat Gov. Kasich in November.
John Michael Spinelli

A new, robust poll of likely Ohio voters shows that nearly $1 million in political TV spots aired across the state has not propelled first-term Republican Gov. John Kasich over the 50-percent tipping point with Buckeyes, who according to OpportunityOhio, the group responsible for the survey released Monday, still know little about Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic party endorsed gubernatorial challenger.

The survey of 2,083 Ohio likely voters by Dublin-based Magellan, conducted June 9-11 with a margin of narrow error of 2.15 percent, shows only 45 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of Gov. Kasich, who has an unfavorable rating among 37 percent while 13 percent offered no opinion. On the same question for Ed FitzGerald, the governor's underfunded and little known challenger, his favorable rating was only 25 percent, with 32 percent registering no opinion. His unfavorable rating is also low at 24 percent since he's little known outside his home county of Cuyahoga in northeast Ohio, where his current job is Executive to Cuyahoga County Council.

When it comes to job approval, Gov. Kasich is also underwater at 49 percent, with 35 percent disapproving and 16 percent with no opinion. "If the election for Governor were being held today, would you vote for Ed FitzGerald the Democrat candidate or John Kasich, the Republican candidate?" Again, only 47 percent of voters were rehire Gov. Kasich, but that's eight points better than the 39 percent who would vote for Ed FitzGerald. Ten percent are undecided while four percent would pick another candidate.

In the most recent Ohio Poll by Quinnipiac University, which was delivered to a far small group of Buckeye voters, Gov. Kasich topped FitzGerald by a whopping 15 point spread. When questioned by CGE Friday night before the Ohio Democratic Party annual dinner and fundraiser that featured former President Bill Clinton, FitzGerald could only say that he'll air his first TV ad soon. That cautious committal came on the same day campaigns filed there campaign finance reports. The inside of FitzGerald's evasive answer might be rooted in the sad reality that Kasich has nearly $5 to every $1 for FitzGerald, a former FBI agent and special prosecutor who is making his first race for statewide office.

Other profiles of those surveyed showed they are 87 percent white, 75 percent are at least 45 years old and 54 percent female. The split between party affiliation showed 35 percent each for Republican and Democrat and 30 percent other.

Following Friday's campaign finance release, Gov. Kasich's campaign manager Matt Carle said, "Gov. Kasich's support is strong and growing as Ohioans continue to see positive results around the state, and with more than $9.3 million in the bank going into the summer, I'm confident we'll have the resources we need to continue telling Ohio's comeback story."

Filed campaign finance reports show Kasich raised $1.8 million, more than twice the $835,572 raised by FitzGerald. Kasich dwarfs FitzGerald with $9.3 million in the bank, compared with $1.9 million for FitzGerald. In just seven weeks, the FitzGerald-Neuhardt campaign said it raised over $860,000. FitzGerald campaign manager Nick Buis said, "Thanks to the contributions from Ohioans in all 88 counties, the campaign's fundraising has serious momentum. We raised over $200,000 more than our previous filing in half the time, and recruited over 3,600 new contributors. It's clear that the Governor's position on SB 310, women's healthcare, education, and tax cuts for the wealthy is increasingly causing Ohioans to join Team FitzGerald."

Friday night, President Clinton told about 2,500 patrons at the Democratic dinner and fundraiser, that the election in Ohio this year is a big election. "This is not about something little. This is about something big," he said, reminding everyone, "...all eyes will be on you, because people really do believe that if you want to find a place in America that represents everybody and everything—a place with the largest, most geographically distributed group of big cities, and a massive agricultural economy and lots of small towns with every kind of economic activity—you can go to Ohio. We are looking, we are listening and I am pleading with you to make us proud. Thank you and God bless you."

In separate news today, Gov. Kasich signed the Mid-Biennium Budget Review, another budget document with many controversial measures in it. Kasich signed the bill, HB 483, Monday afternoon at a food bank in Grove City, a Columbus suburb.

Ed FitzGerald, Ohio House of Representatives Democratic Leader Tracy Maxwell Heard, and Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Joe Schiavoni released their statement on the bill.

"This budget is a clear statement of Governor Kasich's and Statehouse Republicans' misplaced priorities. It is unforgivable that this budget does nothing to stop the increase in property taxes and other local levies. In fact, this new budget continues Governor Kasich's trend of cutting funds for local communities and education to create income tax cuts for the top one percent. Until our state government stops underfunding our police, firefighters, and public schools, taxes will continue to rise on Ohioans who can afford them the least, while Governor Kasich's wealthy friends do better than ever."

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