A Nov. 12 political poll sponsored by the Ohio Democratic Party had the race between Republican Gov. John Kasich and presumed Democratic opponent, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, right now, as a dead heat, both with 41 percent.
A political poll released Tuesday by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute provides a different picture.
Meanwhile, another poll released Wednesday shows that President Barack Obama's job approval rating is at an all-time low in Ohio.
The governor's race poll shows that although FitzGerald has gained ground on Kasich, the governor begins the reelection year with a 7 percent advantage, 44 percent to 37 percent. That's down from a 47 percent to 33 percent lead Kasich held in a June Quinnipiac poll.
Other relevant numbers provided by the university poll: Voters in Ohio have given Kasich a 52 percent approval rating, just 2 percent off Kasich's all-time high in June, and the governor has a 41 percent favorability rating. Also, 48 percent say he deserves re-election.
Seventy-one percent of those questioned reported not knowing enough about FitzGerald to form an opinion of the Democrat, which means ''he has a long way to go to introduce himself'' to Ohio voters, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute.
Kasich's approval rating marks ''a huge turnaround'' from his first two years in office, when the rating was ''in the 30s and Democrats were licking their chops at the prospect'' of making Kasich a one-term governor, Brown said.
The poll also took a look at Medicaid expansion, which 51 percent reported was a good idea.
The move though has political effects for Kasich, but not in the long run if history is a guide.
Because of his Medicaid expansion, ''24 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to vote'' for the governor, but many of those Republicans turned away will ''come home on Election Day because they find the other candidates less palatable,'' Brown said.
In Wednesday's presidential poll, Obama's approval rating is 34 percent, the lowest score in any Quinnipiac poll nationally or in any state. The rating dropped 6 percent from a June survey and is two points under his previous lowest rating in a state, Colorado, earlier this month.
Brown points to Obamacare for much of the reason for the drop, saying Ohio voters opposed the president's signature health care law 59 percent to 35 percent. Maybe more significant, Brown says, is that 45 percent to 16 percent think their own health care will be worse in a year.
''If voters still feel that way about their own situation come November 2014, that is likely to create a political playing field beneficial for Republicans,'' Brown said, noting the opposition to Obamacare may drown out the blame Republicans may receive for the government shutdown.
In an early look at White House prospects in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tops the Republican likes of Kasich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, U.S. senators Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Clinton holds a 49 percent to 38 percent lead over Kasich.