Kasich Begins Term as Governor with Low Approval Ratings; Ohioans Oppose Many of His Budget Balancing Ideas

Ohio's new Republican governor, John Kasich, has been in office a little over a week and has started his new joba with an approval rating that is substantially lower than that of outgoing governor Ted Strickland during the initial "honeymoon period."

A new poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday revealed that after just one week in office, Kasich gets a 30 - 22 percent job approval rating, with 48 percent of voters still undecided. But voters are generally optimistic, 59 - 29 percent, about the next four years in Ohio with Kasich as governor.

Ohio voters oppose 61 to 34 percent raising taxes to balance the state budget. But by a 58 to 28 percent margin they don't believe that Kasich will be able to keep his no-tax promise. Voters also say 50 to 42 percent that Kasich shouldn't have made the no-tax pledge.

Peter A. Brown assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said:

"Gov. John Kasich starts out with a barely positive job approval from the voters, although in fairness almost half have yet to develop an opinion of his performance given he is only a little more than a week in office. Kasich, however, does have an electorate that is optimistic about his ability to turn the state around. Voters are aware of the problems facing Ohio: 96 percent call the state's budget problems 'very serious' or 'somewhat serious,' the highest level of concern we've ever measured in the state."

Voters are aware of the state's budget issues, but are not happy about some of the ideas being advocated by Kasich and/or Republicans who control both houses of the legislature. Voters say 53 to 32 percent that they would rather cut services than raise taxes to balance the budget. Service cuts win 76 - 13 percent support from Republicans and 56 - 29 percent support from independent voters, while Democrats favor tax hikes 50 - 36 percent.

Ohio voters also oppose a number of proposals to help balance the state budget:

  • 46 - 43 percent against layoffs for state workers;
  • 51 - 30 percent against leasing the Ohio Turnpike to a private company;
  • 51 - 33 percent against hiring a private company to run state prisons.
  • A proposal to limit the ability of state and local government workers to bargain collectively is a bad idea, voters say 51 - 34 percent.
  • Republicans oppose a tax hike to balance the state budget 80 - 17 percent and believe 46 - 33 percent that Kasich will keep his no-tax pledge.

    Democrats support a tax hike 50 - 46 percent and say 71 - 17 percent that Kasich won't keep his promise.

    Independent voters oppose new taxes 61 - 32 percent and don't believe Kasich 62 - 26 percent.

    Brown said:

    "For the most part, Ohioans are not receptive to a number of proposals that would cut spending or sell state assets as a way to balance the budget. Gov. Kasich has a serious selling job on his hands when it comes to convincing the people of Ohio on the wisdom of his ideas."

    From January 12 - 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,299 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

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