June 30th, 2010
08:41 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll indicates Ohio Senate race wide open as Biden visits

(CNN) - The battle for Ohio's open Senate seat remains deadlocked, according to a new poll.  The Quinnipiac University survey's Wednesday release comes as Vice President Joe Biden heads to Cleveland to lend a helping hand to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the Democratic nominee.

The poll indicates that 42 percent of Ohio voters back Fisher, with 40 percent supporting former Rep. and Bush administration budget director Rob Portman, the GOP nominee. Fisher's two point advantage is basically unchanged from Quinnipiac surveys conducted in March and April and is within the poll's sampling error.

"The Senate race remains far, far from any kind of clear picture, mostly because neither candidate is well known to Ohioans. Even though Fisher has been a figure in Ohio politics for two decades, 54 percent of voters say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion. For Portman, 66 percent can't rate him. With four months until Election Day the Senate race is wide, wide open," says Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

According to the survey, Fisher is overwhelmingly winning the Democratic vote and Portman the Republican vote, with independents split. Both candidates are fighting to succeed two-term Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who is not running for re-election.

Biden will campaign and headline a fundraiser in Cleveland Wednesday for Fisher, who survived a tough primary contest against Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Fisher beat Brunner by 11 points but had to spend a good amount of his campaign cash in the primaries.

Biden has become the go-to guy in the Obama administration to help out Democratic candidates in this year's midterm elections. In the past week and a half, he's hit the campaign trail for Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic Senate nominee in Illinois, Dan Seals, the Democratic nominee for the House seat in Illinois 10th congressional district, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin who's up for re-election this year, and Chris Coons, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Delaware who is hoping to keep the vice president's old seat in party hands.

The poll also indicates that 45 percent approve of the job President Barack Obama's doing in office, with 49 percent saying they disapprove - a breakdown that is basically unchanged from April. By a 53 to 40 percent margin, independent voters disapprove of Obama's performance in the White House.

"Given Ohio's key position in the Electoral College, the White House needs to keep a sharp eye on the president's numbers in the Buckeye State. They aren't awful, but they aren't good either," adds Brown.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted June 22-27, with 1,107 registered Ohio voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Joe Biden • Ohio • Polls
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I can care less about the Senate race. I just want Bonehead Boehner gone.

    June 30, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. Dave

    Hope Biden spends alot of time there. Certainly will be the kiss of death for the dem candidate.

    June 30, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  3. Liz the First

    The key to victory for Fisher is voter turnout. If every forward-thinking, sane, decent person turns out to vote, he'll win by a landslide. If only the wingnuts are motivated to get off their keisters, he and his state will lose very badly. The reality is that liberals and moderately liberals outnumber the conservatives in this country. The only reason a republican ever gets elected is that the ones who know better than to vote for a republican stay home. Now is the time to defeat all republican'ts. How many more ways do they need to prove they can't govern?

    June 30, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  4. Get A Grip

    Old 'Average Joe' headed to Ohio to waste more of the taxpayers money. It's just disgusting how this guy and his boss continue to campaign on the taxpayers dime.

    June 30, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. Larry

    Portman is already running ads around here with his typical 1930's "Vote for me, I'm the man for the job" campaign.

    I haven't seen any ads for Fisher, nor from Coussoule, who is challenging Boehner.

    Ohio has been hit so hard by this recession and went blue for the first time in a long time in 2008. I don't expect that will change in 2010, campaign ads or not.

    June 30, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. mj

    Fisher will soon be in trouble. Inviting "Potty Mouth" Biden to help his cause should turn the tables very quickly. Hope Biden gets his free ice cream while in town.

    June 30, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. gt

    please keep joe away.. he is toxic...

    June 30, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Ron

    Are you kidding me? Has anyone in OH seen what the republicans want to do?? Cancel unemployment benefits for those who need it to survive, return 20B to BP so that taxpayers can pick up the cleanup and economic costs of the oil disaster in the gulf, push retirement to age 70, etc, etc, etc

    Only a 2 pt lead?! Wow. I guess OH wants to live in a John Boener America. Think about that for a few minutes. Really?

    June 30, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  9. Tayo

    Where is the Tea Party or is this post not a birth right seat of the Republican?

    One thing is clear, this November wil be interesting!

    June 30, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    Proof again why this poll is a total scam and the Electorial College is useless and outdated.This poll and the college only help republicans,just like Gerryrigging districts so Republicans can stay close in elections.If it were up to a majority,the rightwing scum would never win a thing.

    June 30, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. katiec

    Ohio voters have to be more intelligent than to vote for someone that was part of the Bush administration. Republicans were responsible for almost destroying our country and continue their destructive actions. Any political party whose goals are destroy our president, win at any cost, party first, bases campaigns on lies, hate, fear mongering
    is a political party that has put their personal gains, goals, big business over the survival of us and our country.
    They all need to be voted out.

    June 30, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Thank gosh Joe the hairplug is in Ohio. Hopefully he will demean, degrade and name call some of their hardworking tax paying citizens like he did in Wisconsin and Ohio will elect a Republican governor. After all that hopey changey thing turns out to be a lie and now this "summer of recovery" has proven to be another lie by the corrupt, inept, union toady Obozo administration he so feebly represents.

    June 30, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |