In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won Ohio by five-points. Four years later, Ohioans are split on whether Obama deserves a second term with 46% approving and 47% disapproving. However, when it comes to the lackluster ’12 GOP Presidential field, Obama leads front-runner Mitt Romney by four points. Obama’s approval rating is 46% and his disapproval rating is 50%. So, while Ohioans equally disapprove of the job both Obama and Kasich are doing, Obama’s approval rating towers over Kasich by a difference of eleven points.
Sherrod Brown has the highest approval rating among Kasich, Portman, and Obama. With 49% approving and 30% disapproving. Yes, you read that right. Sherrod Brown’s disapproval rating is just a few points lower than Kasich’s APPROVAL rating. Freshman Senator Rob Portman has a 40% approval rating and a 21% disapproval rating. Both Portman and Brown have a +19 approval rating, but Sherrod’s approval rating is nine-points higher than Portman. Portman’s approval rating is six points lower than Obama’s. And yet, I predict most of the media will go with a “Portman is popular, Obama is not” narrative.
With 47% of Ohioans saying Brown deserves re-election, it’s no surprise that Brown currently looks like he might cruise to re-election after some rougher polling numbers after the 2010 Democratic bloodbath. The GOP primary to run against Sherrod has Treasurer Josh Mandel in the lead, but his showing leaves an opening for long-shot candidate former State Senator Kevin Coughlin. Currently, among GOP voters, Quinnipiac shows Mandel leading 35% to 12% against Coughlin, but with 46% undecided. With already a nearly 3:1 lead over Coughlin, Coughlin is going to have to start making a case to the 46% undecided why Mandel is the wrong choice for the Party sooner rather than later. I’m somewhat surprised how high the undecided is, but with millions in the bank for the Senate candidacy Mandel still won’t admit exists even as he tours the country raising money for it, Coughlin is going to have to light up the grassroot activist base of his party, who seemed to already be inclined to gravitate towards Mandel.
It may not matter. Although Mandel polls better against Sherrod Brown, it’s nothing to brag about. Brown gets 49% to Mandel’s 34%. Brown has a ten-point edge over Mandel among independents, an eight-point lead with male voters, and a jaw dropping TWENTY-TWO point lead with female voters. In fact, Brown leads also in the fact that he has a six-point advantage in crossover voters over Mandel (Republicans supporting Brown vs. Democrats supporting Mandel).
Mandel’s -15 point margin against Brown is only slightly better than the -18 point margin Coughlin would get (50%to 32%.) Absent a major shift in the political winds in the next fifteen months, Brown is positioned from a public opinion standpoint in a case where the incumbent has traditionally always won re-election with the lone exception of George Allen of “Macaca” fame.
The ’12 GOP Presidential primary is a hot mess nationally, so it’s no surprise to find the same thing in Ohio. Of the candidate’s polled, the only candidates getting double digits among GOP voters is “front runner” Mittens at 16%, Sarah Palin at 15%, and “I’m not Sarah Palin” Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann at 11%. Honorable mention goes to Texas Governor Rick Perry who comes in at 8%. Taking Perry out the equation doesn’t really change the makeup of the race much. It’s still the same three as the top contenders with the rest of the pack languishing in the polling basement. Undecided is leading by nearly 2:1 to anyone in the GOP field.
Mitt Romney does the best, by far, against Obama in a head-to-head matchup (45%-41%). So congratulations, GOP, after four years of non-stop attacking the President, he’s now doing a whole POINT worse against the GOP frontrunner for 2012 than he did against John McCain in ’08. That’s gotta make you happy.
“Anybody but Romney” re-elects Obama. Period. End of discussion. Sorry, conservatives, it’s either Mittens as your nominee or four more years of Obama. You’re going to have to pick. Because Obama gets 51% to 35% against Palin and 49% to 36% against Bachmann. Rick Perry loses to Obama by 12. The only fighting chance you have is with Romney. Enjoy the caucus and primaries, guys!
More Ohioans, by an overwhelming margin, approve of the job Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama are doing over how John Kasich and, yes, even Rob Portman is doing. This ain’t 2010 anymore, folks. Thanks, Governor!