February 4, 2009 - Democrats On Top In Early Look At 2010 Ohio Senate Race, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Few Voters Know Much About Any Candidates

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In an early look at the 2010 Republican primary for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat being vacated by George Voinovich, former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman holds a 33 - 11 percent lead over State Auditor Mary Taylor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Both Republicans trail either of the two leading Democratic candidates, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher or Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, by almost identical double-digit margins.

In a possible Democratic primary, Fisher, Brunner and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan each get from 14 to 18 percent of the vote and more than half of the Democratic electorate is undecided, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

In trial heats between the leading Democratic and Republican Senate candidates, Fisher defeats Portman 42 - 27 percent, with 29 percent undecided. Fisher tops Taylor by almost an identical 41 - 27 percent margin. Brunner prevails by smaller margins, 38 - 28 percent over Portman and 38 - 26 percent over Taylor.

"Ohio remains pretty blue these days, given Gov. Ted Strickland's high approval ratings in past polls and the fact that President Barack Obama carried the state easily, and it shows in the early Senate numbers," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But Republicans should not be disheartened by these numbers. We are still in the Obama honeymoon period and both Fisher and Brunner are known almost twice as well statewide as Portman and Taylor.

"Moreover, four in 10 independent voters - the folks who likely will decide the election - are undecided at this point," said Brown.

If Brunner decides not to seek the Senate seat and runs for reelection as Ohio's Secretary of State, she would defeat Republican Jon Husted in a mythical matchup 42 - 25 percent. Here too three in 10 voters are undecided.

Although he has been active in Ohio politics for almost 30 years, been elected state Attorney General and lost the 1998 governorship by the smallest margin in state history, Lt. Gov. Fisher is relatively unknown to the voting public. A third of voters view him favorably, 10 percent unfavorably and 55 percent say they don't know enough about him to make a decision.

"That large a number of people who can't rate Fisher is surprising and a potential problem for him if he chooses to run. He's been around so long, and just doesn't seem to have left that many footprints in the snow, in the minds of voters," said Brown. "By comparison, Brunner, elected statewide for the first time in 2006, has almost identical favorability and unfavorability numbers to Fisher."

Portman, whose name was mentioned last summer as a possible running mate for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, is a former U.S. trade representative, a cabinet level post, and also was director of the federal office of Management and Budget. But outside of his Cincinnati-area district he is not that well known, with 21 percent of Ohioans viewing him favorably, 6 percent unfavorably and 72 percent who haven't heard enough to form an impression of him. He is somewhat better known than State Auditor Taylor, who is viewed favorably by 17 percent, unfavorably by 5 percent with 78 percent who don't know enough to rate her.

Tim Ryan, the Congressman who runs even with Fisher and Brunner in a Democratic Senate primary, is the least known of any of the candidates, with 12 percent viewing him favorably, 3 percent unfavorably and 84 percent with no opinion.

From January 29 - February 2, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,127 Ohio voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The survey includes 492 Democrats, with a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points, and 374 Republicans, with a margin of error of +/- 5.1 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.

2. (If registered Republican) As you may know, Ohio Senator George Voinovich will not be running for reelection in 2010. Thinking about the 2010 Republican primary for United States Senator, if the 2010 Republican primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Rob Portman and Mary Taylor, for whom would you vote?
                     Rep
 
Portman              33%
Taylor               11
DK/NA                56
 
 
3. (If registered Democrat) If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Lee Fisher, Jennifer Brunner and Tim Ryan, for whom would you vote?
                     Dem
 
Fisher               18%
Brunner              16
Tim Ryan             14
DK/NA                53
 
 
6. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Lee Fisher the Democrat and Rob Portman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Fisher               42%     3%    73%    37%    41%    42%    24%
Portman              27     71      3     21     31     25     43
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      2      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      2      2      -      1
DK/NA                29     26     23     37     26     32     31
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Fisher               45%    47%    35%    33%    41%    30%
Portman              29     20     33     31     43     27
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      1      -      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      2      -      1      1
DK/NA                25     31     29     35     15     40
 
 
7. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Lee Fisher the Democrat and Mary Taylor the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Fisher               41%     8%    71%    34%    41%    41%    27%
Taylor               27     65      5     22     28     26     40
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      2      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      1      -      2      2      1      2
DK/NA                30     25     23     41     28     32     30
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Fisher               42%    45%    36%    40%    44%    30%
Taylor               30     25     32     19     28     28
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      2      -      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      1      1      -      2      1
DK/NA                26     29     29     39     26     39
 
 
8. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Jennifer Brunner the Democrat and Rob Portman the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Brunner              38%     4%    68%    32%    39%    38%    22%
Portman              28     70      4     24     30     26     44
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      1      2      2      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      -      1      3      2      1      1
DK/NA                31     26     26     39     27     35     32
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Brunner              45%    41%    34%    33%    37%    30%
Portman              29     21     32     24     44     31
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      2      3      -      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      1      2      1      3      1      1
DK/NA                25     35     31     37     18     38
 
 
9. If the 2010 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Jennifer Brunner the Democrat and Mary Taylor the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Brunner              38%     5%    67%    32%    40%    37%    21%
Taylor               26     66      3     22     25     27     42
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1      1      2      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      -      1      3      3      1      2
DK/NA                33     28     28     41     31     35     34
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Brunner              40%    40%    33%    36%    43%    31%
Taylor               31     22     35     22     27     27
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1      2      1      2
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      3      1      2      3      2      -
DK/NA                26     36     28     37     28     40
 
 
10. If the 2010 election for Secretary of State were being held today and the candidates were Jennifer Brunner the Democrat and Jon Husted the Republican, for whom would you vote?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Brunner              42%     6%    72%    36%    43%    40%    26%
Husted               25     65      2     22     27     23     39
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      -      1      1      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      2      2      1      3      2      1      3
DK/NA                31     28     25     38     27     35     32
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Brunner              44%    46%    36%    40%    39%    33%
Husted               28     22     25     17     28     31
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       -      -      1      2      -      -
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      2      3      3      2      1
DK/NA                28     30     34     38     30     35
 
 
15. Is your opinion of -- Lee Fisher favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            33%    15%    48%    31%    37%    29%    28%
Unfavorable          10     18      5     11     13      8     12
Hvn't hrd enough     55     66     45     56     47     61     58
REFUSED               2      1      2      3      3      2      2
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable            39%    39%    20%    32%    27%    26%
Unfavorable          10     11     11      8     11      8
Hvn't hrd enough     48     48     69     60     60     65
REFUSED               3      3      1      1      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of -- Lee Fisher favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Feb 4   Dec 10
                     2009    2008
 
Favorable            33      23
Unfavorable          10      10
Hvn't hrd enough     55      66
REFUSED               2       1
 
 
16. Is your opinion of -- Tim Ryan favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            12%     2%    22%     8%    12%    11%    10%
Unfavorable           3      3      2      5      5      2      3
Hvn't hrd enough     84     94     75     85     82     86     87
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      1      1      1
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable             7%    20%     1%    12%     5%     7%
Unfavorable           -      7      2      1      1      1
Hvn't hrd enough     92     72     97     87     92     91
REFUSED               1      1      -      1      2      1
 
 
17. Is your opinion of -- Jennifer Brunner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            34%    15%    53%    29%    39%    30%    25%
Unfavorable          10     19      2     11     10      9     13
Hvn't hrd enough     55     64     44     59     49     60     61
REFUSED               1      2      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable            41%    36%    31%    29%    32%    28%
Unfavorable          12      9      6      8     11     10
Hvn't hrd enough     45     54     61     63     56     62
REFUSED               2      1      1      1      1      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of -- Jennifer Brunner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     Feb 4   Dec 10
                     2009    2008
 
Favorable            34      26%
Unfavorable          10      24
Hvn't hrd enough     55      49
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
18. Is your opinion of -- Rob Portman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            21%    38%    12%    19%    27%    17%    27%
Unfavorable           6      1     10      6      8      4      2
Hvn't hrd enough     72     61     78     73     64     79     70
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      2      -      1
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable            23%    12%    11%    23%    51%    22%
Unfavorable           6      2      4      1     16      8
Hvn't hrd enough     69     85     85     76     32     69
REFUSED               2      1      -      1      -      -
 
TREND: Is your opinion of -- Rob Portman favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     Feb 4   Dec 10
                     2009    2008
 
Favorable            21      12
Unfavorable           6       7
Hvn't hrd enough     72      80
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
19. Is your opinion of -- Mary Taylor favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            17%    26%    12%    15%    19%    14%    17%
Unfavorable           5      3      4      7      7      2      5
Hvn't hrd enough     78     71     83     76     72     83     76
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      2      1      1
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable            22%    15%    19%    18%    17%    12%
Unfavorable           5      5      -      2      6      6
Hvn't hrd enough     71     78     79     79     77     83
REFUSED               1      2      1      1      1      -
 
 
20. Is your opinion of -- Jon Husted favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Favorable            12%    18%     7%    13%    13%    12%    14%
Unfavorable           5      3      6      6      7      3      3
Hvn't hrd enough     81     79     85     79     79     84     82
REFUSED               1      1      1      2      1      1      1
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Favorable            16%     8%     7%    15%     7%    26%
Unfavorable           7      5      1      1      6      7
Hvn't hrd enough     75     86     92     83     86     66
REFUSED               2      2      -      1      1      1
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Sherrod Brown is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              51%    32%    67%    52%    52%    51%    44%
Disapprove           22     37     11     21     27     17     29
DK/NA                27     31     22     26     22     32     28
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Approve              55%    52%    54%    54%    45%    49%
Disapprove           19     26     21     14     19     19
DK/NA                26     22     25     32     36     32
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Sherrod Brown is handling his job as United States Senator? (*high also 51% on 08/14/08, **low also 42% on 2/1/07)
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 4   Dec 10  Aug 14  Jun 4   Feb 25  Feb 4   May 15
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2009*   2007**
 
Approve              51      48      51      44      44      51      42
Disapprove           22      26      23      23      15      22      21
DK/NA                27      26      26      33      41      27      36
 
 
23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Voinovich is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              55%    54%    56%    55%    54%    55%    53%
Disapprove           29     32     29     26     35     24     31
DK/NA                16     14     15     19     11     21     16
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Approve              63%    55%    55%    53%    47%    52%
Disapprove           26     30     28     26     30     31
DK/NA                12     15     16     20     23     17
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Voinovich is handling his job as United States Senator?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Feb 4   Dec 10  Aug 14  Jun 4   Feb 25  Feb 4   Dec 13
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2009    2006
 
Approve              55      51      51      45      46      55      41
Disapprove           29      31      32      31      27      29      33
DK/NA                16      17      17      23      27      16      26
 
 
24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jennifer Brunner is handling her job as Ohio's Secretary of State?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              44%    26%    62%    38%    48%    40%    33%
Disapprove           16     31      6     13     17     14     23
DK/NA                41     43     32     49     35     46     44
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Approve              50%    45%    47%    38%    35%    39%
Disapprove           15     16      9     11     22     16
DK/NA                35     39     44     51     43     45
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Jennifer Brunner is handling her job as Ohio's Secretary of State?
                     Feb 4   Dec 10  Aug 14  Jun 4
                     2009    2008    2008    2008
 
Approve              44      39      38      38
Disapprove           16      28      12      13
DK/NA                41      33      50      48
 
 
25. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mary Taylor is handling her job as Ohio's state auditor?
                                                               WtBrnAgn
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Evnglcl
 
Approve              37%    34%    44%    31%    41%    34%    38%
Disapprove            8      8      7      9      9      7     11
DK/NA                55     58     49     60     50     59     51
 
                     Cntrl  NrthE  NrthW  SthE   SthW   WstCnt
 
Approve              40%    35%    44%    40%    36%    32%
Disapprove            8      6      8      8      9     13
DK/NA                52     59     48     52     54     55
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mary Taylor is handling her job as Ohio's state auditor?
                     Feb 4   Aug 14  Jun 4
                     2009    2008    2008
 
Approve              37      39      39
Disapprove            8      10      12
DK/NA                55      52      49