(CNN) – A new poll suggests a virtual tie in the Senate battle in the important bellwether state of Ohio.
According to a survey released Friday by The Ohio Poll, 47 percent of likely voters in the Buckeye State say they back Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the Democratic nominee, in the general election matchup, with 46 percent supporting former Rep. Rob Portman, the Republican nominee, and six percent undecided. Fisher's 1-point advantage is well within the poll's sampling error.
The survey, conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, indicates Portman with a 44 percent to 35 percent lead among independents, with one in five undecided.
Fisher defeated Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner earlier this month in a tough and expensive Democratic Senate primary. Portman, who also served as former President George W. Bush's White House budget director, had no real GOP competition. The race in November is to succeed retiring Republican Sen. George Voinovich.
According to the poll, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland leads his Republican challenger, former Rep. John Kasich, 49 percent to 44 percent, in Ohio's gubernatorial contest. Fifty-five percent of those questioned in the survey approve of the job Strickland is doing as Ohio governor, with 35 percent saying they disapprove. The governor, who's bidding for a second term in office, has seen his approval rating rise 7 points from last October.
The survey indicates that 46 percent of Ohioans approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in the White House, with 49 percent giving him a thumbs down. Obama won the state by five percent over Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, a reversal from 2004 when Bush narrowly took the state over Sen. John Kerry.
The Ohio Poll was conducted May 11-20, with 898 adults, including 668 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
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