Poll: 2010 Ohio Senate Race Is Wide Open

January 19, 2009 8:16 a.m.

The first public poll is out in the 2010 Ohio Senate race, which is expected to be a tight election for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. George Voinovich. Republican former Congressman Rob Portman starts out with an early advantage over three potential Democratic candidates — but it’s not a very solid one at all.

The numbers from Public Policy Polling (D):

• Portman 42%, Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner 34%.

• Portman 41%, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher 39%.

• Portman 40%, Rep. Tim Ryan 34%.

The margin of error is ±4.1%.

Along with the very high undecideds, the internals also show some clear untapped potential for the Dems to catch up. For one thing, the undecided number among self-identified Democrats is higher than for self-identified Republicans in all three heats. And Portman is also registering support among black respondents of over 30%, which is something we never realistically expect to see for a Republican in an actual general election.

In short, it appears that Portman’s lead right now owes more to the fact that the Democratic candidates aren’t very well known to the voters — nor is Portman, for that matter, but it helps him that he is the only Republican being tested against three different Democrats.

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