A new poll by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling portrays Gov. John Kasich as barely above 40 percent in his race against lesser known Ed FitzGerald.
The poll has Kasich, the Republican, tied with FitzGerald, the Democrat, at 41 percent. FitzGerald is the Cuyahoga County county executive.
(A PPP poll released Aug. 20 showed FitzGerald ahead of Kasich by 38 to 35 percent. Compared with that poll, Kasich has gained 6 percentage points while FitzGerald has gained 3 points.)
Also facing a tough re-election contest is Josh Mandel, Republican state Treasurer, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) last year. According to the poll, the likely Democratic candidate, state Rep. Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, would win 47 percent to 43 percent against Mandel.
In the gubernatorial contest, Libertarian Charlie Earl gets 6 percent of the vote; 13 percent of voters said they weren't sure.
According to the poll, 26 percent of Republicans expressed disapproval of Kasich's job performance, while 55 percent of the GOP voters were approving. Overall, 37 percent approve and 42 percent disapprove. In August, Kasich was facing 42 percent approval and 47 percent disapproval.
PPP's analysis says that only 7 of the 29 governors running for re-election in 2014 are in worse shape, politically, than Kasich.
PPP said it surveyed 595 Ohio voters and the poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, plus or minus.
The poll was commissioned by the Ohio Democratic Party. Despite being a Democratic pollster and commissioned by the Democratic Party, the polling firm has a reputation for accuracy.
The Ohio Democratic Party released this statement from Chris Redfern, the party chairman:
“John Kasich spent the last three years turning his back on the middle class, so it’s no wonder voters are abandoning him in favor of former FBI agent and current Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald. This poll shows that even Republicans are looking for alternatives to re-electing John Kasich, which explains why the Governor spent the last month making it harder for Libertarian Charlie Earl to get on the ballot. And after months of scandal involving his federally-indicted donor, it’s clear Ohioans are tired of Josh Mandel as they move to support Connie Pillich for State Treasurer.”
Chris Schrimpf, of the Ohio Republican Party, provided this response to the PPP poll:
"On Thursday, after Ed FitzGerald kept it secret for a month, it became public that under FitzGerald’s leadership Cuyahoga County had its credit downgraded for the first time in memory. The next day Ohio Democrats came out with a partisan poll to try and undo the damage. One could only wish that FitzGerald’s government was as transparent as the Democrats’ attempts to manufacture momentum for a stalled campaign."
Also, the ORP also doesn't agree that PPP deserves its reputation for accuracy, citing this article in The New Republic that says the pollster uses "amateur weighting techniques" and is not transparent about its methodology. In a word, "unscientific."
And finally this response from Jerid Kurtz, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, in defense of its pollster:
Check out Fordham University: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/fordham-study-public-policy-polling-deemed-most-accurate-national-pollster-in-2012
Nate Silver of the New York Times calling PPP was one of the most accurate polls in the 2012 cycle: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/which-polls-fared-best-and-worst-in-the-2012-presidential-race/?_r=0
"They have a strong track record, and we’re excited by these results," Kurtz said.