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Poll: Half of registered voters approve of Kasich's performance

Despite Ohio's faltering economy and rising unemployment numbers, 50 percent of registered voters approve of the job Republican John Kasich is doing as governor, according to a new poll released Friday by Mercyhurst University.

Meanwhile, 59 percent of Ohio voters disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing while 33 percent approve. And two-thirds of voters disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in Congress and 62 percent disapprove of the Democrats' job performance in Congress.

Mercyhurst in Erie, Penn., surveyed 437 Ohio voters on leadership and the economy. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percent.

Ohio's unemployment rate climbed to 7.5 percent last month and is now slightly higher than the national jobless rate, according to new data released Friday. But the poll found that more Ohioans perceive that the state's economy is outperforming the national economy. Nineteen percent of Ohio voters describe the nation's economy as good while 36 percent say the state's economy is excellent or good.

Mercyhurst pollster Joseph Morris said Kasich "has had a slow but steady march toward 50 percent since he took office. It's a good number."

Although Mercyhurst didn't ask voters why they favor Kasich, Morris said Kasich's decision to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 275,000 Ohioans has been in the news and may be a factor toward his uptick in popularity.

On the national front, news of a 16-day federal government shutdown and the troubled roll out of the Affordable Care Act may have colored opinions of Obama and Congress, Morris said. "There has been little, if any, good news out of Washington for some time, and the results of this poll reflect that."

Looking at the 2016 presidential campaign, Mercyhurst pollsters found that 54 percent of Ohio voters have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Vice President Joe Biden and 49 percent have a favorable opinion of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican. Nearly a majority of voters have no opinion of or don't recognize Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, the poll found.

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