John Kasich is in third place among likely Republican voters in Pennsylvania's April 26 primary, 15 percentage points behind front runner Donald Trump, but he is the only Republican who beats either Democratic candidate in head-to-head November matchups in Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
Trump leads among likely Republican primary voters with 39 percent, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 30 percent and Kasich with 24 percent, the independent Quinnipiac University Poll finds.
Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Bernie Sanders 50 - 44 percent among Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters.
Only 7 percent of Republicans are undecided, but 27 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind by April 26. Democrats have similar numbers, 6 percent undecided and 22 percent who might change their mind.
In head-to-head general election matchups:
-- Kasich buries Clinton 51 - 35 percent;
-- Kasich tops Sanders 46 - 40 percent;
-- Clinton gets 45 percent to Trump's 42 percent;
-- Clinton ties Cruz 43 - 43 percent;
-- Sanders tops Trump 48 - 40 percent;
-- Sanders beats Cruz 46 - 38 percent.
"Can you be mired in third place among Pennsylvania Republicans and still be your party's best bet come Election Day? Welcome to Gov. John Kasich's world, where the big prize is tantalizingly close, but blocked by two candidates with the same goal," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
"Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio are critical presidential swing states. Since 1960, no one has won the White House without taking two of these three states," Malloy added. "Kasich is ahead of Clinton and Sanders in his home state, and now we see how strong he is next door, if he can jump over Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz. But he'll have to grow wings pretty soon."
There is a wide gender gap among Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters as men back Sanders 53 - 40 percent, while women back Clinton 56 - 38 percent.
"Very liberal" Democrats go to Sanders 63 - 33 percent. "Somewhat liberal" Democrats back Clinton 51 - 43 percent. "Moderate/conservative" Democrats go to Clinton 55 - 38 percent. Sanders leads 67 - 27 percent among voters 18 to 44 years old, while Clinton leads among older voters.
Among Republicans, Trump gets 45 percent of men, with 32 percent for Cruz and 18 percent for Kasich. He also gets 33 percent of women, with 30 percent for Kasich and 28 percent for Cruz.
Tea Party members go 55 percent for Cruz, 34 percent for Trump and 7 percent for Kasich. Cruz also takes 49 percent of white, born again Evangelical Christians, with 29 percent for Trump and 19 percent for Kasich.
"Very conservative" Republicans go 50 percent for Cruz, 29 percent for Trump and 15 percent for Kasich.
"Somewhat conservative" Republicans go 44 percent for Trump and 23 percent each for Cruz and Kasich. "Moderate/liberal" Republicans go 45 percent for Trump, 35 percent for Kasich and 14 percent for Cruz.
Kasich has the best net favorability rating, 49 - 17 percent favorable, with Sanders at 49 - 37 percent favorable. Trump, Clinton and Cruz all have negative ratings, 32 - 60 percent for Trump, 35 - 59 percent for Clinton and 32 - 50 percent for Cruz.The full poll results are available online.