Story highlights

Despite his immense popularity in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich would lose the Republican primary there if held today, a new poll finds

The Quinnipiac University survey shows Donald Trump beating Kasich 31% to 26%

Washington CNN  — 

Despite his immense popularity in Ohio, Gov. John Kasich trails Donald Trump there, a new poll finds.

The Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday shows GOP presidential front-runner Trump beating Kasich 31% to 26% in Ohio, which will holds its primary on March 15 in a winner-take-all contest.

Ted Cruz comes in third with 21% support, followed by Marco Rubio with 13% and Ben Carson with 5%.

A loss in his home state would be a blow to Kasich, who has largely staked his campaign on winning there and other delegate-rich, mid-March Midwestern contests.

Nightcap: The toll of the “liar” attack: Ted Cruz cans top aide Rick Tyler | Sign up

Kasich trails Trump despite garnering a 77% favorability rating in the Buckeye State among likely Republicans.

“A Kasich Ohio win is crucial to the Republicans trying to stop the New York businessman’s nomination,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a release accompanying the results. “If Trump can defeat Kasich in his home state, that would be an impressive demonstration of his strength in a state that is just now getting attention. But Trump’s lead is just 5 points, certainly not large enough for him to breathe easy.”

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 55% to 40% with likely Democratic voters, Quinnipiac’s survey finds.

Between February 16-20 the poll surveyed 759 Ohio likely Republican primary voters for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, and 518 likely Democratic voters for plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.