There are three takeaways from Quinnipiac’s latest poll:
- Brunner is toast.
- The Senate race swung 14 points, giving Portman a slim lead vs. likely opponent Lee Fisher.
- Obama’s approval rating swung in the negative by 16 points.
Let’s start with the Democratic Primary.
Among Democrats and with 51% still undecided, Fisher leads Brunner by only 2 points. While some Brunner supporters will see this as a sign of improvement since the last poll which showed her down 9, they shouldn’t get too excited. Yes, the September poll had Fisher further ahead, but it seems to be an outlier relative to other previous four polls which showed Fisher up by between the usual 2-4 points. On top of it, Brunner only leads among women against Fisher by a surprising two points. In the general versus Portman? She only leads by three among women. Wow.
End story? Brunner continues to slightly trail Fisher. This means she’s toast.
Why? Money. As of the end of the 3rd quarter, Brunner only had $112,000 cash-on-hand. Fisher had almost 16 times that – $1.6 million. Unless dogs are better fundraisers than I think, Brunner has little to no shot of competing with Fisher’s advertising advantage. Unless the pro-women liberal PAC Emily’s List decides to get involved, which would be a dumb idea on their part, Brunner will have extremely limited exposure on television. With 51% of Democrat voters undecided, that’s ridiculously bad news for Brunner.
As for the Republican(s)…
Portman leads businessman Tom Ganley with 26% of the GOP vote to 7%. This is pretty much unchanged from any of the previous polls. As I’ll discuss in a later post, Ganley is up already with a very limited ad buy on TV. It begins now – if he can’t make up some serious ground by late winter, he should cut his losses and avoid wasting any of his personal fortune against the supremely qualified Rob Portman.
Now, onto the General Election.
With Brunner and Ganley a virtual impossibility as their Party’s nominee, I’ll focus on Portman vs. Fisher.
Currently, Portman is up three. That’s not too impressive until you consider the swing in momentum. In February, Fisher was up 15 on Portman. Just two months ago, he was up 11. And now, Portman storms to the lead. That’s a 14 point swing in just two months in favor of the Republican.
What about favorability numbers?
This is where it gets interesting to me. The Quinnipiac Poll asked whether voters approved of the way Fisher is handling his job as Lt. Governor. Now, considering the extremely poor marks Ted Strickland received in yesterday’s Quinnipiac Poll, you’d assume that some of this negativity would rub off on Fisher, particularly with the direct mention of his title of Lt. Governor, right?
Fisher’s approval rating as Lt. Governor is at 39% approve vs. 23% disapprove. Only 8% of Democrats disapprove, indicating no one in the base is upset with him. And Independents approve by an 18 point margin. Incredible.
Incredible that no one is paying attention.
This is where the good news really starts for the Portman campaign. Despite these approval numbers, Portman still has a three point lead. Now consider the money situation.
In all likelihood, Ganley will drop out before Portman has to spend much of his money in a primary fight. On the other hand, Brunner seems committed to sticking it out through the primary, thereby ensuring Fisher’s need to spend his $1.6 million plus on television.
Well, Portman currently has $5.1 million cash-on-hand. That’s already a sizable advantage on the Democrat, and one that shows every sign of increasing. This money advantage is the tool needed to define Fisher’s record – not only as the Lt. Governor in a failed Administration, but also as the Director of Development. Portman will show Ohioans that under Fisher’s direct leadership, Ohio’s economic development effort was a massive failure, with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. Point being, if Fisher stands any shot at winning, it will require a massive influx of cash from Washington.
Now, what about Obama?
Ohhhhh how I loved seeing this number in the press release this morning.
That’s a 16 point swing from his 53-42 number in September. My, how times change.
Numbers for how he’s handling the economy are even worse.
Among the all-important Indies, that number worsens to 39-54.
And even worse…health care.
Among Indies, yep…even worse – 34-62.
The biggest swing was on the ‘who do you trust – Obama or the Republicans’ question.
We’re tied. The funny part? Just two months ago Obama was up 21.
Zach Space, Mary Jo Kilroy, Steve Driehaus, are you listening? Too bad you didn’t have these numbers last week, eh?
In summary, a year out and it’s all good news for Ohio Republicans.
But remember, it’s just that – a year out.
There’s still much to do. Money to be raised. And volunteers to be corralled.
Let’s get to work.