The new survey of the Ohio Senate race from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Republican Rob Portman taking the lead against Democrat Lee Fisher -- and being helped immensely by the enthusiasm gap of Republicans being far more motivated to vote than Democrats are.
The numbers: Portman 45%, Fisher 38%. The survey of likely voters has a Â±4.5% margin of error. In the previous PPP survey from late June, Fisher had an edge of 40%-38%. The TPM Poll Average gives Portman a lead of 44.8%-40.4%.
A key tell is that in the June poll, respondents said that they voted for Obama in 2008 by a margin of 50%-44%. (This question never adds up to 100%, because some voters will not divulge theirÂ past choice, and others are new to the electorate.) In the new poll, though, respondents said they voted for John McCain, by a 48%-45% margin -- in a state that Obama actually carried by 51%-47%.
"Democrats almost everywhere are suffering not just from independents leaning toward Republicans but from a base problem--fewer of their voters are planning to show up at the polls than even in usual midterm elections, and those who do are not as unified around their nominees as are Republican voters around theirs," writes PPP president Dean Debnam. "Lee Fisher has to galvanize his base to win this race. If only 40% of the electorate is Democrats, and only 70% of them vote for him, he loses."