I thought maybe it’s just because of my person interest in the Governor’s race, maybe it’s because of the rhetorical “fireworks” daily between the Strickland campaign and John Kasich’s NYC satellite office, but today’s Quinnipiac poll contains one clear conclusion about the open seat U.S. Senate race in Ohio:  Ohioans don’t even know that one of the most watched Senate races in the nation even exists.

Rob Portman was once a Chairman of the House Administrative Committee.  He served as George W. Bush’s trade representative and ran the OMB (although Portman doesn’t actually utter the letter “W.” in his bio on his campaign website.)  In the 2008 Presidential elections, he was rumored to be on John McCain’s short list to be running mate.  His consolation prize was playing Senator Barack Obama in McCain’s debate prep (which went totally awesome!)

McCain Portman

Despite all of this, a year of campaigning, the biggest warchest Ohioans can forsee, and ads from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, two-thirds of Ohioans polled said they don’t know enough about Rob Portman to have an opinion of him.

That means that two out of three people who reading this post have no freaking clue who the hell I’m writing about.

This from a campaign that claims it has a presence in all 88-counties in Ohio.  Robbie, you’re doing a heck of a job!

But Lee Fisher doesn’t fare much better.  Lee Fisher was Attorney General from 1990-1994.  He ran in a close race for Governor in 1998.  He was Ted Strickland’s running mate in 2006.  Yes, he’s been the Lt. Governor for the past four years, but let’s face, most Ohioans don’t even think about the Lt. Governor unless the Governor dies or is elected to a new office before their term is up (thus the week and a half “Administration” of former “Governor” Nancy Hollister.)

The federal witness protection program places people as Lt. Governors across the State all the time.  It’s the best place to go to never be seen until you launch your next campaign.

As such, Lee Fisher isn’t known by 54% of Ohioans.  That means half the people in Ohio don’t know either of the major party candidates for an open U.S. Senate races in one of the most nationally watched races in the nation.  Just about every pundit is ranking this race a tossup in a year where Senate elections matter.

A majority of REPUBLICANS don’t know Rob Portman.  Thanks to Jennifer Brunner’s primary challenge, Lee Fisher doesn’t have this problem with Democrats.

As a result, the race stays in a tight 42-40 Fisher-Portman stalemate it’s been in since April. But, wait, Modern, I thought this was a very pro-GOP year?  Shouldn’t a race where the Democrat and Republicans are largely unknown favor the Republicans?

I’m glad I asked that . . .

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