John Kasich's job approval rating has grown to 54 percent, marking an all-time high for the Republican governor of Ohio.
The approval mark, ''buoyed by voter perception that the Ohio economy is improving,'' says a Quinnipiac University Poll released last week, is a slight increase from April, when another Quinnipiac poll showed Kasich's approval rating was 52 percent.
And with that slight increase, Kasich has widened his lead to 47 to 33 percent over Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County Executive, a possible Democrat candidate in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Kasich also holds a 47 to 36 percent lead over another rumored candidate, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rich Cordray, Ohio's former treasurer and attorney general.
In April, Kasich held edges of 46 to 37 percent over FitzGerald and 45 to 38 percent over Cordray.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the university's Polling Institute, said Kasich continues a turnaround as he builds his re-election campaign.
''The number of people who think he is doing a good job continues to climb incrementally and his favorable / unfavorable ratio among voters is impressive. The only bright spot for Democrats in these numbers is that Kasich remains just below the magic 50 percent threshold when voters are asked if he deserves a second term in the governor's chair,'' Brown said.
But Kasich is on the threshold of reaching the threshold. Forty-nine percent of the registered voters questioned said Kasich deserves to be re-elected.
Kasich has a 47 percent favorability rating, up one percent from April.
And nothing changed from last month regarding Ohioans familiarity with either FitzGerald or Cordray. They still don't know much about them.
For FitzGerald, 76 percent reported they didn't know enough about him to make an opinion and 66 percent reported the same for Cordray.
''The election is a long way away, but the next stage will be the race to define FitzGerald, positively by the candidate himself and negatively by the Kasich folks,'' Brown said.
Recently, FitzGerald's campaign put out a news release noting the support of 63 of the 88 Democrat Party chairs in Ohio, saying the early endorsement ''shows monumental support from all corners of the state.''
Mahoning County Democrat Party chairman David Betras was on the list. But conspicuously missing was Trumbull County's Democrat Party chairman Dan Polivka.
Polivka's explanation: He had heard Cordray was running and wanted to leave his options open at this point. He said it's not that he doesn't like FitzGerald as a candidate, more that he wanted to reserve his endorsement and not quite commit right now.
There's still a lot of speculation about a Cordray run. His position as consumer watchdog, which coincidentally prevents him from engaging in political activity, is up for reappointment. The situation is fluid and it appears the earliest the body may take up the matter is sometime in July.
Cordray has been re-nominated for a five-year term in the position by President Barack Obama. So he's not walking away now, especially when the president has his back.