March 30, 2010 - Fisher Leads In Ohio Dem Primary For Senate, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But Many Dem Voters Undecided Or Might Change Mind

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With five weeks until the May 4 Democratic primary for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner 33 - 26 percent among likely voters, but 40 percent are undecided and 65 percent of those who back a candidate say they might change their mind, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The numbers indicate that Fisher's major advantage in the race is that by 37 - 18 percent, likely Democratic voters think he is more likely to win the general election in November.

Fisher holds a 37 - 26 percent lead among men and leads 30 - 27 percent among likely women voters in the Democratic primary, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds.

The Democratic primary winner will face Republican Rob Portman, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination, in the November election. The U.S. Senate seat is currently held by George Voinovich, who is not seeking re-election.

Fisher's lead is much smaller when Democratic voters are asked about how they view the views and values of the two candidates.

"Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher is ahead as the candidates enter the home stretch, but the lead is not that large and the size of the undecided vote with a relatively short period until primary election day underscores the potential volatility of the contest," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Fisher's lead shouldn't be all that surprising since he has been active in statewide politics for going on two decades and is better known than Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner because she is much newer to the statewide political scene."

"And the fact that Fisher is viewed as a better general election candidate appears to be a big reason he is currently ahead," Brown added.

Fisher's greater visibility is evident when voters are asked to rate the two candidates favorably or unfavorably. He gets a favorable rating from 33 percent, with 8 percent unfavorable and 56 percent saying they don't know enough about him to have an opinion. Ms. Brunner has a 24 - 7 percent favorability rating, and 67 percent of likely voters say they don't know enough about her to form an opinion.

"With so many voters lacking so much information with so little time to go until the voting, the election is going to be decided by which of the two does a better job reaching this big group of voters who don't think they know enough at this point to make a choice," Brown said. "Given how campaigns work, the candidate with the biggest and best television campaign is most likely to prevail."

The two candidates receive almost identical scores - although in both cases Fisher leads narrowly - when voters are asked which candidate is more likely to do in office what they said they would during the campaign, and which of the two most shares their values. By 23 - 19 percent, voters say Fisher is more likely to do what he says and by 23 - 20 percent they think Fisher most shares their values.

They rate Fisher the more consistently liberal of the two 21 - 15 percent and 12 percent of them say the fact Ms. Brunner is female makes them more likely to vote for her, compared to 2 percent who say it makes them less likely and 84 percent who say this doesn't affect their vote.

From March 25 - 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 978 Ohio likely Democratic primary voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points. The sample was drawn from registered voter lists based on people who have voted in recent elections.

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. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. If the 2010 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner, for whom would you vote? (If undecided q1) As of today, do you lean more toward Fisher or Brunner? This table includes Leaners".
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Fisher               33%    37%    30%
Brunner              26     26     27
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      1      1
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -      -      -
DK/NA                40     36     43
 
 
1a. (If express choice q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the primary?
                     LIKELY VOTERS........
                     CAND CHOICE GIVEN Q1.
                            CAND CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    Fisher Brunner
Made up              31%    31%    30%
Might change         65     66     64
DK/NA                 4      3      6
 
 
2. Is your opinion of - Lee Fisher favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            33%    37%    31%
Unfavorable           8      9      7
Hvn't hrd enough     56     51     59
REFUSED               3      3      3
 
 
3. Is your opinion of - Jennifer Brunner favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Favorable            24%    26%    22%
Unfavorable           7     10      6
Hvn't hrd enough     67     61     70
REFUSED               3      3      3
 
 
4. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - trust more to do in office what they say they will do during the campaign, Lee Fisher or Jennifer Brunner?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Fisher               23%    28%    19%
Brunner              19     19     19
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    7      9      6
DK/NA                51     43     56
 
 
5. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - believe most shares your values, Lee Fisher or Jennifer Brunner?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Fisher               23%    28%    20%
Brunner              20     19     21
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    5      6      4
DK/NA                52     47     55
 
 
6. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - see as more consistently liberal, Lee Fisher or Jennifer Brunner?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Fisher               21%    28%    17%
Brunner              15     18     13
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    3      5      3
DK/NA                61     50     67
 
 
7. Regardless of how you intend to vote, who do you - think would be more likely to win the November general election if nominated, Lee Fisher or Jennifer Brunner?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
Fisher               37%    43%    34%
Brunner              18     20     17
NO DIFFERENCE(VOL)    2      4      2
DK/NA                42     33     48
 
 
8. Does the fact that Jennifer Brunner is a woman make it more likely you will vote for her in the primary, less likely, or doesn't it make a difference?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....
                     Tot    Men    Wom
More likely          12%     8%    14%
Less likely           2      1      2
Doesn't make diff    84     89     81
DK/NA                 2      1      3