Despite continuing to be relatively unknown, John Kasich leads Ted Strickland 42-37 in his bid to be the next Governor of Ohio.
50% of voters have no opinion about Kasich and among those who do feelings about him are pretty evenly divided with 25% viewing him favorably and 24% unfavorably. Kasich's advantage likely has a lot more to do with Strickland than it does with himself. The Governor's popularity continues to decline with only 33% of voters approving of him to 47% who disapprove.
Strickland's base is not all that enthused about him with just 53% of Democrats expressing approval of him to 23% who disapprove and 23% with no opinion. Majorities of independents and Republicans disapprove of him by margins of 54/28 and 69/14 respectively.
Strickland and Kasich both win over most of their party's voters in the horse race, with the incumbent up 70-10 with Democrats and the challenger holding a 73-10 advantage with Republicans. Kasich's lead is due to an overwhelming 47-24 lead with independents. Independents are leaning toward the GOP everywhere this year, but the margin in Ohio is particularly wide.
With the country as polarized as it is right now it seems pretty safe to say that there won't be a lot of Democrats or Republicans crossing party lines in their votes for Governor this year. That means the race will come down to the independents. Right now they dislike Strickland and don't really know Kasich. For the Governor to get reelected he will have to get those voters to change their minds about him- or convince them that they dislike Kasich even more. It's going to be a difficult fight for reelection.
Full results here