Ohio: Half of Voters Have No Opinion of Portman

Posted January 21, 2009 at 5:21pm

A new Public Policy Polling survey in the Buckeye State’s open Senate race found former Rep. Rob Portman (R) in a competitive position, even though almost half of respondents had no opinion of the ex-Bush administration official.

The poll found that 28 percent of people surveyed had a favorable view of Portman while 23 percent had a negative view. But 49 percent had no opinion.

Portman has announced he will seek the seat of retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R), and the Republican establishment is expected to coalesce behind his candidacy. Several Democrats are mulling the race, but no one has officially announced they are in.

Among Democrats, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher is the most well-liked and well-known potential Senate candidate, the survey found. Only 28 percent of those surveyed had no opinion of Fisher.

In a hypothetical matchup Portman led Risher 41 percent to 39 percent, which was within the poll’s 4-point margin of error.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D) is also mulling a Senate run, and the poll found that voters’ familiarity with him was similar to that of Portman, as the former and current Congressmen are likely not that well-known outside of their home territory.

Of those surveyed, 26 percent viewed him favorably and 27 percent viewed him unfavorably, but 46 percent had no opinion.

The poll also showed Portman with a larger lead in a hypothetical matchup with Ryan, 40 percent to 34 percent. Portman enjoyed the largest lead over Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D), 42 percent to 34 percent, the poll found.

The survey of 578 Ohio voters was taken Jan. 17-18.