For the first time since his election, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has the approval of a majority of registered voters, but his support for a second term is shakier, according to a poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University.
Forty-two percent of registered Ohio voters approve of Kasich's performance, while 35 percent disapprove -- an all-time positive rating for the governor. Most Ohioans also said they were satisfied with how things were going in the state.
"Things are looking better for Gov. John Kasich," said Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But it is not all blue skies as Gov. Kasich enters the last half of his term."
Only 36 percent of voters said Kasich, whose term ends in January 2015, deserved to be reelected, while 43 percent say he does not. Even some of his supporters appeared open to a better candidate. While two-thirds of Republicans supported Kasich's reelection, 41 percent also said they would like to see him challenged in a primary.
Kasich announced in November that he has "full intentions of running for reelection" according to The Columbus Dispatch.
One possible GOP rival, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said last week that he's not interested in challenging Kasich.
While his seat is likely to be targeted as a potential pickup by Democrats, most potential challengers remain virtually unknown to voters. More than half of voters said they didn't know enough about Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general and current head of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to offer an opinion, while even fewer could rate Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald or U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.
By far the best-known Democratic possibility is former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, who lost to Kasich in 2010. Strickland is known to a majority of voters and has a 41 percent favorable rating, according to Quinnipiac.
The poll surveyed 1,165 registered voters by phone between Dec. 4 and Dec. 9, with a 2.9 percent margin of error.