As promised, Public Policy Polling (PPP) released its latest poll on the U.S. Senate race this year in Ohio.

PPP has Sherrod Brown’s approval rating lower than what we’ve seen in Quinnipiac with 42% approval to 34% disapproval (Quinnipiac had Brown at 47% approval.) It also shows him underwater with independents at 37%/44% (Quinnipiac had Brown above water with Independents at 46%34%.)

Both still show Sherrod Brown with an 11-15 point lead over Josh Mandel.   The most recent poll, PPP, shows Brown leading 47%-36%, with a five-point lead with independents.  Mandel’s numbers will improve once he gets the 20% of Republicans who approve of Brown’s performance to come back home.   (Brown currently polls at getting 12% of the Republican vote.  That will change.)

Josh Mandel’s negative press has hurt him.  While his name recognition has risen six points (up to 39% of Ohioans say they’ve heard of Josh Mandel enough to form an opinion!), Mandel proves that not all publicity is good publicity.  Ohioans simply don’t like Josh Mandel.  His favorability rating stayed at 14%, but his unfavorability rating stands at 25%—a six-point increase.  In other words 100% of those polled who didn’t have an opinion in the last PPP poll in early November all formed a negative opinion of Mandel.  He’s now 11-points underwater with his favorability rating among those who know enough about him to form an opinion.  The only good news is that still over 60% of Ohioans don’t feel they know enough about him to form an opinion.

I’ll give credit to the Ohio Democratic Party for Mandel’s negative ratings as they have birddogged him on his shirking his official duties as State Treasurer in favor of his fundraising for his Senate campaign (fundraising which has slowed as the negative press has mounted.)

Again, just as we saw with Obama, there’s a huge gender gap.  Women approve of Brown 47%/36%, but men disapprove 27%-42%.   But there’s no significant gender gap with Mandel.  In fact, his unfavorability rating among men actually higher than with women by seven points.  His favorability rating among male and female voters is roughly the same.

Mandel only has a +5 favorability rating among RepublicansWith independents, he’s thirteen points underwater.  (With Democrats, he –23.) 

Again, just like with Obama, PPP shows Mandel doing better with voters 30-45, but losing all other age demographics.

In short, Mandel has not even closed out the sale to Republican voters, even though he’s assumed to be a cinch to win the GOP Republican Senate primary against a weak field.  But while PPP shows that Ohioans aren’t necessarily wild about Sherrod, they seem to be down right despondent over Mandel’s candidacy.

PPP says their numbers suggest that Brown should be considered “a second-tier” pickup opportunity for the Republicans’ quest to officially take over the United States Senate (as opposed to abuse the cloture vote procedure to require a 60 vote majority for anything to get done.)  That’s remarkable since a year ago people had Sherrod Brown at the top of their lists as likely GOP takeover possibilities.

Mandel has raised a ton of money, and the Presidential election will help him bring the GOP voters home.  But at the end of the day, the odds right now heavily favor Sherrod Brown winning reelection.  To give you any sense, it was at this point in 2010 that most polling showed Kasich with a six-point lead that wound up being less than 2 by election day.

Right now, it looks like the wind is starting to blow more and more favorably nationally for the Democrats.  That could change.  But at this point, Sherrod Brown looks to be in solid shape to be re-elected this year.