Republican Portman Well Ahead in Ohio Sen Race

Wednesday, 20 Oct 2010 07:16 AM

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Republican Rob Portman heads into the home stretch with a 55 – 34 percent likely voter lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds Portman’s lead statistically unchanged from his leads of 55 – 35 percent September 17 and 55 – 36 percent October 6.

“Given that Lt. Gov. Fisher has been trailing Portman by roughly 20 points since the fall campaign got underway, there’s not much reason to think he can close that gap appreciably in the final two weeks of the campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Other than self-identified Democrats, it is hard to find a demographic group that supports Fisher.”

One reason for Portman’s prohibitive lead is that Ohio likely voters are in favor of Republicans taking control of the U.S. Senate, 44 – 34 percent. Also, voters say 54 – 40 percent they want the state’s next senator to oppose, rather than support, President Barack Obama’s policies.

Portman is beating Fisher 92 – 2 percent among Republicans and 65 – 23 percent among independent voters, while the lieutenant governor wins Democrats 77 – 11 percent.

“There is a gender gap, but Portman still dominates among men and women,” said Brown. Portman is carrying men 58 – 32 percent and women 51 – 37 percent.

“For Fisher to win he’ll need to get every undecided voter and peel away a sizable chunk of those who are already in the Portman camp,” said Brown. “But only 10 percent of Portman voters say they might change their minds, while 11 percent of Fisher backers feel that way.”

Portman is viewed favorably by 47 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 22 percent. Fisher, on the other hand, receives a 42 – 29 percent unfavorable rating. Fisher is viewed favorably by just 20 percent of independents, compared to Portman who gets a thumbs up from 54 percent of unaffiliated likely voters.

Portman also swamps Fisher 53 – 32 percent when likely voters are asked which candidate most shares their values.

Ohio’s economy is getting worse, 36 percent of Ohio likely voters say, while 19 percent say it is getting better and 45 percent say it is unchanged.
Portman wins likely voters who think the economy is getting worse 75 – 11 percent. Fisher carries voters who see the economy improving 82 – 9 percent. Voters who see no change in the economy back Portman 58 – 33 percent.

“This is obviously shaping up to be a Republican year in Ohio, and Rob Portman is riding the wave while Lee Fisher is drowning under it,” said Brown. “In a year in which the national influence on the Senate election was not as great nor as pro-Republican, Lee Fisher might have had a better chance. But politics is not fair, the tenor of the times matters to voters, and Lee Fisher drew the short straw.”

From October 12 – 17, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,188 Ohio likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

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