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Poll: Gov. John Kasich in dead heat race with Dem challenger Ed FitzGerald

Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, a first-term Republican.
Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, a first-term Republican.John Michael Spinelli

It's not the news Ohio Gov. Kasich wanted to see, but the results released Wednesday of a poll on the matchup between the incumbent Republican governor and his Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald, show the two political polar opposites in a dead heat race for state chief executive.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich may not be a shoe-in for reelection this November in light of poll results released Wednesday showing he and his Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald are tied with about 200 days left before Election Day on November 4.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich may not be a shoe-in for reelection this November in light of poll results released Wednesday showing he and his Democratic challenger, Ed FitzGerald are tied with about 200 days left before Election Day on November 4.Infographic

Public Policy Polling, one of the most reliable and accurate polling firms in the nation, released a poll showing gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald and Governor John Kasich tied at 44 percent with 11 percent not sure.

"It’s no coincidence that John Kasich’s campaign decided to go on the air yesterday—they are seeing the same results we’re seeing," wrote Meredith Tucker, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, who commissioner the poll. "Governor Kasich has had weeks of horrible media attention on everything from his attacks on voting rights, his discriminatory views on marriage equality, and his tax shift onto the middle class. This race is a dead heat, and Ohioans know that John Kasich doesn’t share our values, and his policies aren’t working for Ohio families."

Of those polled, of concern to Gov. Kasich is that 53 percent were women versus 47 for men. The Democratic, Republican, Independent breakdown was 39, 37 and 24, respectively. In age ranges, the highest percentage group was 46-65 at 42 percent, older than 65 at 25 percent, 30-45 at 30-45 and 18-29 at nine percent. Whites were 82 percent of responders with African-Americans at 12 and other at six percent.

Among women, 45-43 percent went for FitzGerald compared to 46-44 among men. African-Americans, by a lopsided margin of 74-11, like FitzGerald over Kasich, while 51-39 of whites went the other way. For 18-45 years olds, FitzGerald well—47 percent to 29 and 39 percent. Kasich shows well with 46-65 year olds—47 and 51 compared to 45 and 39 for FitzGerald.

PPP also took the electoral pulse of the race for Secretary of State between incumbent Secretary of State Jon Husted and his Democratic challenger, State Senator Nina Turner. Turner, who is engaged in her first statewide race, leads Mr. Husted, a seasoned politician who has served as Speaker of the Ohio House and a state senator before winning his current seat in 2010, is likewise engaged in a toss-up election. She leads the incumbent 45-44 percent.

In the last PPP survey, also paid for by ODP, Kasich held a lead of five points, a narrowing of the firms previous attempt late last year. Gov. Kasich launched his first campaign TV ad yesterday, focusing on his biography as a hardworking, family values person from a steel town where his father carried the U.S. mail.

Ed FitzGerald, a former FBI agent, assistant county prosecutor and Mayor of Lakewood, Ohio, before being elected Cuyahoga County's first Executive, trails Kasich in campaign cash on hand and will need to do all he can to not left behind by Gov. Kasich, who will have all the help he wants from outside groups like the Republican Governors Association, and from billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnet who Kasich and other 2016 Republican hopefuls traveled to Las Vegas recently to visit. Adelson pumped $94 million in to the 2012 presidential campaign, backing Mitt Romney who lost Ohio by about 166,00 votes and the White House.

Adelson has not been shy in wanting to back a GOP winner in 2016, and Gov. Kasich is among a slew of Republicans who says he's no longer interested in the presidency but whose name is still routinely spoken of as the kind of Midwestern governor with a proven record big donors like Adelson want to take on Hillary Clinton, who conventional wisdom predicts will take up the crusade to be leader of the free world again in two years.