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How much longer will Kasich stay in the race?

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Posted at 9:54 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 09:21:33-05

Ohio Gov. John Kasich seemed to drop a strong hint Tuesday that he might bow out of Republican presidential primary race, even as he told reporters he didn't plan to do so.

At the very least, he seemed to be at peace with the idea of not winning his party's nomination (if it comes to that).

Speaking at a town hall at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, Kasich said he's not sure if his purpose is to be president.

"My purpose is to be out here doing what I think I need to be doing. And, we'll see where it ends up."

IN DEPTH: What happened to the 'jerk' John Kasich?

When asked about his rivals, Kasich rejected suggestions from an audience member it was time to take the gloves off.

"I just think it's time to end all negative campaigning and the dirt in politics," he said. "I think it's a bad way to run for president."

ALSO: Trump wins again, takes Nevada

Kasich's appearance at the university was his second of the day in the Atlanta area. Earlier, he addressed lawmakers at the Georgia State Capitol and told reporters he had no plans to suspend his presidential campaign.

He's faced increasing pressure in the wake of his second-to-last finish in South Carolina's Republican primary to drop out in favor of another establishment candidate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. And that pressure is unlikely to relent after his dismal showing Tuesday night in Nevada.

Ohio Governor Trailing in Ohio

With just three weeks to go to the Ohio primaries, a new Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday shows Kasich trailing Republican front-runner Donald Trump by a margin of five points in his home state. 

Five percent of Republicans remain undecided, and 38 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind before the March 15 primary. 

"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," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. "But Trump's lead is just 5 points, certainly not large enough for him to breathe easy."  

The poll reports Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is at 21 percent, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio holds 13 percent and Dr. Ben Carson rounds out the field with 5 percent of voters supporting him.