A potential U.S. Senate race in Ohio between Democratic challenger Ted Strickland and Republican incumbent Rob Portman is nearly a dead heat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday morning.
After months of Strickland, the former governor, holding a substantial lead over Portman, the race now has 44 percent supporting the Democrat and 41 percent supporting Portman.
The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus three percentage points. The poll contained data from three key swing states – Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Previous Quinnipiac polls this year had Strickland with more substantial leads – six percentage points in June, nine percentage points in April.
In recent weeks, Strickland, the front-runner for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, has been hammered by TV ads paid for by Americans For Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ organization; and the Portman campaign has also started a TV ad campaign attacking Strickland.
“The too-close-to-call status of the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Rob Portman and former governor Ted Strickland is progress for the incumbent Republican who had trailed the Democratic challenger in previous Quinnipiac University polls,’’ Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a press release.
Strickland’s challenger for the Democratic nomination – Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld – continues to struggle. The Quinnipiac poll had Sittenfeld trailing Portman by 21 percentage points; and said that 88 percent of those polled do not known enough about the second-term council member to form an opinion about him.
The Ohio portion of the poll also showed that Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, remains highly popular with Ohio voters, with 61 percent saying they approve of the job he is doing while 28 percent said they disapprove. Ohio Democrats were divided on Kasich, with 46 percent saying they approve of his job performance and 44 percent saying they disapprove.