Ohio Gov. John Kasich keeps beating Hillary Clinton in hypothetical match-ups, and the polls show he fares better against her than either of his two GOP challengers: Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz.
But there is a problem for Kasich: He is not the preferred choice of Republicans.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday says Kasich would beat Clinton 47 to 39 percent if the election were held today, while Clinton would post wins over both Trump and Cruz.
Kasich also would beat Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to the poll, although the result is well within the poll’s margin of error.
Kasich has maintained for weeks that he is the only Republican who can win in November. Although this poll — and similar recent polls — would seem to bear out that statement, he is not particularly well-liked by Republican voters.
In the Quinnipiac poll, Trump leads among Republicans (and Republican leaners) with 43 percent, followed by 29 percent for Cruz and just 16 percent for Kasich.
Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders 50 to 38 percent.
None of the candidates received a ringing endorsement from the poll. Clinton, for example, was the top choice among Democrats, but Sanders did better than she did in hypothetical match-ups against each of the Republicans.
The poll was conducted between March 16 and 21 and included interviews with 1,451 registered voters nationwide.
“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may have the overall leads among primary voters, but there is not a lot of love in the room as a big percentage of Americans say of the front-runners they could take ‘em or leave ‘em,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Though short on delegates and short on time, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. John Kasich can hang their hats on the fact that if folks went to the polls today, they’d fare better than the other candidates.”
Time may have gotten shorter for Kasich on Tuesday. He was shut out in the two Republican contests, with Trump taking all 58 delegates in Arizona and Cruz receiving 40 for his victory in Utah. With his Arizona win, Trump now has 739 delegates compared to 465 for Cruz and 143 for Kasich.
The strategy for Kasich is to stop Trump before he gets the 1,237 delegates that are required to secure the nomination on the first ballot. But for that strategy to work, he has to start winning and so far Kasich has won just one primary: Ohio. In Arizona Tuesday, he even came in fourth, finishing behind Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who has dropped out of the race. Rubio apparently benefited from early voting in Arizona.
One problem for Kasich is name recognition. Although he has campaigned for the office for nearly a year, 36 percent of the respondents in the Quinnipiac poll said they did not know enough about him to have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the Ohio governor.
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