(CNN) – With less than two years until his re-election, John Kasich's poll numbers appear to be moving in the right direction.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday indicates that for the first time since Ohio's Republican governor was inaugurated in January 2011, a plurality of Buckeye State voters are giving Kasich a thumbs up.
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According to the survey, 42% approve of the job Kasich is doing as governor, with 35% saying they disapprove of his performance. And by a 40%-34% margin, Ohio voters have a favorable opinion of him. The poll suggests Ohio voters’ satisfaction with how life is going in their state is benefiting Kasich.
But by a 43%-36% margin, Ohio voters say Kasich doesn't deserve a second term in office.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland, the one-term Democrat who was defeated by Kasich in the 2010 election, has a 41%-29% favorable rating.
"Things are looking better for Gov. John Kasich," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But it is not all blue skies as Gov. Kasich enters the last half of his term. He still has work to do to convince voters that he deserves a second term, and there is significant support for a primary challenge to him."
President Barack Obama, who won Ohio by three points over GOP nominee Mitt Romney in last month's election, has a 54%-42% job approval rating among Buckeye State voters. That's well above his ratings over the past two years in Quinnipiac polling in Ohio, which have generally been in the 40's.
According to the survey, 58% of Ohio voters are very or somewhat satisfied with the way things are going in the state, double the number that felt the same way just over a year ago.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted December 4-9, with 1,165 registered voters in Ohio questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.
CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report