Ohio is near the top of the list when it comes to bellwether states closely watched for which way the country is headed in elections. And a bunch of new polls, including a detailed New York Times/CBS News survey
on the state, points to a strong Republican advantage in its Senate race, a close contest for governor, and a lot of negative news for President Obama and Democrats.
The Times/CBS News poll, as well as three others released on Tuesday, show Rob Portman, a former Bush cabinet member and Republican congressman, with significant leads over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the Senate contest. The Times/CBS poll and two others showed a close race for governor between Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland and his Republican challenger, former Rep. John Kasich.
Here are those results, all based on samples of likely voters:
New York Times/CBS News
Portman leads Fisher in the Senate race 45 percent to 34 percent with 9 percent saying how they vote still "depends" and 9 percent undecided.
Kasich is in a statistical tie with Strickland, leading him 43 percent to 42 percent with 4 percent saying they prefer someone else or won't vote, 7 percent answering "depends," and 5 percent undecided.
Sixty-eight percent say Strickland hasn't made real progress in fixing Ohio's economy and 56 say he does not have clear plan for creating jobs. However, 41 percent say that Kasich also doesn't have a clear plan for creating jobs, compared to 23 percent who say he does, with 36 percent saying they don't know.
In both races, the poll found the effects of the "enthusiasm gap" this year between Republicans and Democrats. When all registered voters are counted, and not just those likely to vote, Portman's 11-point margin over Fisher drops to 6 points. In the governor's race, Strickland has a 5-point advantage when all registered voters are counted.
Forty-eight percent say Obama is not a factor in deciding their vote for Ohio's Senate seat, 24 percent say their vote is intended as one against Obama and 22 percent say it will be in support of Obama.
The campaigns are being conducted against a backdrop in which 69 percent of voters believe the state is headed on the wrong track.
Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research
Portman leads Fisher in the Senate race by 50 percent to 37 percent with 3 percent preferring some other candidate and 11 percent undecided. Fifteen percent of Portman supporters and 19 percent of Fisher backers say they could change their minds. Forty-three percent say Fisher does not have a clear plan for fixing the economy and creating jobs, 15 percent say he does and 43 percent are not sure. Twenty-nine percent say Portman does not have a clear plan, 24 percent say he does and 47 percent are not sure.
Kasich is leading Strickland 45 percent to 43 percent with 2 percent favoring some other candidate and 10 percent undecided. Kasich had held leads of 5 and 6 points in the previous two surveys.
Portman leads by 51 percent to 42 percent with 6 percent undecided, the first term he's been above the 50 percent mark. The margin of error is 4.5 points.
Portman leads Fisher by 50 percent to 37 percent.
Kasich is statistically tied with Strickland, leading him by 47 percent to 46 percent.
There aren't many bright spots in how Ohio voters are seeing Obama in the Times/CBS News poll
Forty-seven percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing while 43 percent approve, with 10 percent undecided. Fifty-eight percent are somewhat or very disappointed about the Obama presidency so far, compared to 40 percent who are very or somewhat satisfied. Only 7 percent say they are "very" satisfied.
Fifty-five percent disapprove of his handling of the economy while 38 percent approve, with 8 percent undecided. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of his efforts on job creation while 34 percent approve, with 8 percent undecided. Sixty-one percent say Obama has not made real progress on fixing the economy since taking office while 32 percent say he has, with 7 percent undecided. Two-thirds say Obama's economic programs have not helped them personally. Fifty-four percent don't think Obama has a clear plan for creating jobs while 37 percent think he has, with 8 percent undecided.
There are a couple of rays of good news for Obama. Fifty-two percent believe he understands their needs and problems while 44 percent do not, with 4 percent undecided.
Twenty-eight percent blame the current state of the economy on the Bush administration, 20 percent on Wall Street and financial institutions and 9 percent on Obama. Congress was blamed by 12 percent; 10 percent believed it was "all of the above" (Bush, Obama, Congress, Wall Street); 12 percent it was a combination of all the players; 7 percent answered "someone else"; and 3 percent were undecided.
Democrats in general are seen as more sympathetic to the needs and problems of those polled by the Times/CBS. Forty-one percent believe the Democrats are more concerned about their needs and problems compared to 33 percent for the Republicans. Seventeen percent answered "neither" and 7 percent were undecided.
Forty percent of Ohio voters view House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unfavorably, with only 11 percent seeing her in a positive light. Twenty-two percent were undecided and 26 percent didn't know enough about her. When it comes to the man who hopes to take her job, House Minority Leader John Boehner, 48 percent haven't heard of him.
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Tagged: 2010 Election Polls
, 2010 Elections
, 2010 Governor Elections
, 2010 Governors Elections
, 2010 Governors Races
, 2010 Senate Elections
, 2010 Senate Races
, John Kasich
, Lee Fisher
, Ohio Elections
, Ohio Governors Race
, Ohio Senate Race
, Rob Portman
, Ted Strickland