COLUMBUS — A poll released today suggests Gov. John Kasich’s game plan of using home state Ohio as a Republican firewall to Donald Trump is in danger.
The Quinnipiac Poll also has Hillary Clinton with a 9-point lead over rival Bernie Sanders in Ohio’s Democratic contest, a day after Mr. Sanders surprise victory in Michigan.
Despite polls showing Mr. Trump in the leading, Mr. Kasich has voiced confidence he will win Ohio and take all of its 66 delegates into what he hopes will be a contested GOP convention in Cleveland.
The Connecticut-based poll gives New York billionaire Trump a six-point lead over the second-term governor in Ohio–38 percent to 32 percent. That’s still within the poll’s GOP margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent among 685 likely voters.
Kasich confident after strong finish in Michigan
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz places third with 16 percent of the vote and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is fourth with 9 percent. Neither has shown much interest so far in challenging Mr. Trump and Mr. Kasich in Ohio.
“The effort within the Republican Party to stop Donald Trump from winning the presidential nomination appears unlikely to stop him from taking Florida’s delegate-rich winner-take-all primary,” said Peter A. Brown, the poll’s assistant director.
“But that effort might have a better chance in Ohio where Gov. John Kasich is giving ‘The Donald’ a tougher run for his money,” he said.
Quinnipiac’s polling of likely Florida GOP voters shows Mr. Trump with a huge 23-point lead over Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
On the Democratic side, Ms. Clinton leads Mr. Sanders 52 percent to 43 percent for Ohio’s primary and a much greater lead in Florida, 62 percent to 32 percent.
Polls a week before Michigan’s election — not by Quinnipiac — showed the former secretary of state, first lady, and New York senator with a similar or greater lead over U.S. Senator Sanders of Vermont. But voters overturned that prediction Tuesday, awarding a narrow victory to Mr. Sanders, 49.9 percent to 48.2 percent, 99 percent of the vote reported.
Mr. Sanders garnered 65 delegates to the Democratic convention while Mrs. Clinton got 58.
In both the Democratic and Republican contests, 5 percent of voters remain undecided.
Among Republicans, 27 percent who have made a decision said they could still change their minds. Among Democrats, 17 percent said they could change their minds.
“It is certainly a long shot, but Ohio is potentially a different situation for Senator Sanders,” Mr. Brown said. “With a 52 to 43 percent lead, Secretary Clinton’s advantage is impressive, but nowhere as large as the 30 percentage point lead she has in Florida.
“In both states, the number of undecided voters is smaller than her lead, meaning that to be victorious Sanders has to get all the undecideds and then take Clinton voters away from her,” he said.
The poll contacted 521 likely Democratic voters in Ohio March 2 through the 7th. The margin of error was 4.3 percentage points.
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