If winning the Republican nomination for president in 2016 were based on how the current baker’s dozen of possible candidates would fare in an election in Ohio today, Gov. John Kasich would be in high cotton. The release last week of a swing-state poll by Quinnipiac University that targets three states critical to a White House win—Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania—shows Mr. Kasich’s favorite son status works best in Ohio compared to the other polled states where he sleeps with the fishes at the bottom of the poll.
This Q-Poll focuses on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania because since 1960 no candidate has won the presidential race without taking at least two of these three states.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton holds commanding leads, with 48 to 65 percent of Democrats in each state, topping her nearest challenger by 3-1 to 6-1, despite GOP-inspired worry over her use of e-mails as secretary of state. If Clinton isn’t a candidate, Vice President Joseph Biden leads the Democratic pack in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, with tallies ranging from 34 percent to 42 percent.
Jeb Bush, former two-term governor in Florida, remains the front-runner but Q-pollsters say he’s slipping there and stalled in two other key swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Moving up in the pack is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, while U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who became the first Republican to declare his candidacy, is back in the pack.
“Gov. Scott Walker continues to be the surprise in the early part of the 2016 campaign,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said about Walker’s climb into the first tier of contenders along with establishment favorite Jeb Bush. On Bush, Brown said this, “Bush has a lead over the field in his home state of Florida, but it’s not anywhere near insurmountable. There is no clear leader in Pennsylvania and Gov. John Kasich, the native son, is ahead in Ohio.”
Gov. Kasich won a big nearly 2-1 win over his Democrat opponent last year, but voter turnout in the battleground state was the lowest since World War II at just 36.2 percent. Kasich’s big win doesn’t seem so big once it’s learned that fewer than one in four registered voters bothered to vote for him. And even among Ohio Republicans he still only hits one in five of them, which at 20-percent puts him ahead of Bush and others. In Ohio, next to Kasich, the largest vote getter at 15 percent was “I don’t know,” while Jeb Bush came in with eight percent. And with Bush out of the race, Ohio’s favorite son only gains another two percentage points [22%].