The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters in Ohio's Senate race shows Republican Rob Portman picking up 45 percent support, while his Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, earns the vote from 37 percent. Five percent prefer a different candidate, and 13 percent are undecided.
In every survey conducted this year, Portman’s support has stayed in the very narrow range of 42 percent to 45 percent of the vote. For Fisher, this survey represents his lowest level of support since regular tracking of the race began in February. Prior to this latest poll, his support had ranged from 38 percent to 43 percent.
Last month, Portman, a former congressman and Bush administration official, had a 44 percent to 40 percent advantage.
When leaners are included in the new totals, Portman’s lead grows from eight points to nine. With the leaners, 48 percent will vote for Portman and 39 percent for Fisher.
This is the first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 survey in Ohio to include leaners. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning toward a particular candidate.
Early in any campaign, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant. Later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more. After Labor Day, Rasmussen Reports will report the numbers with leaners as the primary indicators of the campaign.
With this latest survey, Ohio shifts from tossup to Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power summary.
It’s interesting to note, however, that 65 percent of Fisher’s voters say they are already certain of how they will vote, compared to just 59 percent of those who support Portman.
The statewide survey of 750 likely voters in Ohio was conducted on Aug. 16, 2010, by Rasmussen Reports.
Portman earns 87 percent of the state’s GOP vote, while 75 percent of Democrats support Fisher. Voters not affiliated with either major party prefer the Republican by better than two-to-one.
Seventeen percent of Ohio voters hold a very favorable opinion of Portman, while seven percent view him very unfavorably.
Fisher is also viewed very favorably by 17 percent and very unfavorably by 12 percent.
But one-quarter of the state’s voters don’t know enough about either candidate to venture any kind of opinion of them. At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Ohio has been particularly hard hit by the bad economy and has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Just six percent of the state’s voters rate the economy as good or excellent, while 61 percent describe it as poor. Twenty-three percent say the economy is getting better, but 55 percent believe it is getting worse.
Three-out-of-four Ohio voters (76 percent) say the United States is in a recession.
For the first time since President Obama took office, voters nationwide see his policies as equally to blame with those of President George W. Bush for the country’s current economic problems.
Forty-five percent (45 percent) of voters in Ohio now approve of the job Obama is doing as president, but 54 percent disapprove. This is unchanged from last month and is comparable to his job approval ratings nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
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