There could be as many as 17 or 18 candidates for the Republican nomination for president but only the top 10 will be invited to participate in the first debate in Cleveland on Aug. 6.
In Quinnipiac national poll results released Thursday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich finished in a tie for tenth, registering just 2 percent.
In a five-way tie for first with 10 percent were Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
“Safe to say, the 2016 Republican presidential primary is anyone’s race,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “With no front- runner and identical numbers for the top five contenders, it’s a horserace which can only be described as a scrambled field – at least so far.”
The rest of the top ten includes Sen. Rand Paul with 7 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz with 6 percent, businessman Donald Trump with 5 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 4 percent and then Kasich tied for tenth with Carly Fiorina at 2 percent.
Kasich has been traveling and making a number of national television appearances to raise his profile.
He’s facing questions about his brand of conservatism, in particular his decision to expand Medicaid eligibility in Ohio while insisting that he is opposed to Obamacare. “…because you oppose Obamacare doesn’t mean when you have an opportunity to bring these 14-billion-dollars of Ohio money back to Ohio, that’s not Obamacare – that’s Medicaid,” Kasich said on CNN this week.
Republican strategist Terry Casey believes there will be an appetite for Kasich’s message, his track record and his experience in Congress and as governor. “There are a lot of pragmatic conservatives who want somebody who can win and when you come from Ohio that’s an important plus,” Casey told NBC4.
This week, Kasich has traveled to Georgia, South Carolina and Texas. Casey says it’s now a two month sprint to qualify for the Cleveland debate.”Obviously he needs to raise money which I think he’s working on, he needs to announce and then he needs to continue to have a lot of national exposure,” Casey said.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dominates the Democratic field with 57 percent. Clinton also finished ahead in all of the matchups against Republicans sampled by Quinnipiac. Rand Paul came closest to Clinton trailing by 4 points.