If the election were held today, former Ohio governor Ted Strickland would defeat Republican incumbent Rob Portman in in the U.S. Senate race, according to an independent poll released Monday morning.
The Quinnipiac University poll – which looked at Senate races in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania – had the former Democratic governor with 46 percent support to 40 percent for Portman, the Terrace Park Republican who is running for a second term.
The poll of 1,191 Ohio voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
According to the poll, Cincinnati council member P.G. Sittenfeld, who is challenging Strickland for the Democratic nomination, would be trounced by Portman – 49 percent to 24 percent.
It is not surprising, given that Sittenfeld is virtually unknown outside the Cincinnati area. In the Quinnipiac Poll, 85 percent said they do not know enough about the Cincinnati councilman to have a positive or negative impression of him.
Portman was viewed favorably by 43 percent of those polled, while 21 percent said they view him unfavorably and 35 percent said they did not know enough about him to form an opinion. For Strickland, it was 47 percent favorable, 29 percent unfavorable and 23 percent who said they did not know enough about him.
Portman campaign manager Corry Bliss pointed out, correctly, that in February 2009, Democrat Lee Fisher led Portman in a Quinnipiac U.S. Senate race poll by 15 percentage points. In Nov. 2010, Portman defeated Fisher by 18 percentage points.
The same poll showed President Obama with a job approval rating of only 40 percent. Another 56 percent said they disapprove of the job Obama is doing. Gov. John Kasich, a likely contender for the GOP presidential nomination, has a 60 percent job approval rating.
“Gov. John Kasich was re-elected in a landslide in 2014, while President Barack Obama carried the Buckeye State comfortably in 2012,’’ said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll. “Yet Kasich remains a political icon, while Obama might have difficulty winning in Ohio these days, factors which could boost Sen. Rob Portman’s re-election chances,’’ Brown said.
Bliss said Portman's "fight to expand opportunities for Ohio workers is gaining strength every day and we're already seeing grassroots momentum in each of Ohio's 88 counties."