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Ohio Poll: Fisher Has Big Lead Early Over Portman

Former Republican Rep. Rob Portman has a significant hill to climb to boost his statewide profile and name identification in the race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), according to a new poll released Wednesday.

A Quinnipiac University survey showed Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) ahead of Portman in a hypothetical 2010 matchup, 42 percent to 27 percent, with 29 percent undecided.

Portman, unlike Fisher, has never run statewide before and therefore is not well-known outside of his former Congressional district.

When survey responses were broken down by region, Fisher lead Portman in almost every part of the state except for southwestern Ohio — the region that Portman formerly represented in Congress before he took a position in the Bush administration.

Portman is the only announced candidate so far in the race; however, state Auditor Mary Taylor (R) is also considering a bid for the GOP nomination. Among registered Republicans, Portman led Taylor, 33 percent to 11 percent, with 56 percent undecided. Fisher led Taylor in a hypothetical general election matchup by a similar margin, 41 percent to 27 percent.

Meanwhile, the poll showed no obvious frontrunner in the field of potential Democratic candidates.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D) were also polled alongside Fisher. The registered Democrats that were surveyed favored Fisher by a small but statistically insignificant margin, and the majority of Democrats polled were undecided. Fisher garnered 18 percent, compared with 16 percent for Brunner and 14 percent for Ryan. Of those Democrats, 53 percent were undecided.

The poll surveyed 1,127 Ohio voters from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 and had a margin of error of 2.9 points. The survey included 492 registered Democrats and 374 registered Republicans.

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