Sherrod Brown's looking more and more like he might have a pretty easy path to reelection. With decent approval numbers and a potential pool of opponents that range from unpopular to obscure, he leads all of the Republicans we tested him against by anywhere from 17 to 21 points.
39% of voters approve of the job Brown's doing to 28% who disapprove. He's one of the more unknown Senators in the country with 33% expressing no opinion about him even after almost a full term in office. The key to his numbers being on positive ground is that while 63% of Democrats approve of the job he's doing, only 43% of Republicans disapprove. He's just not that much of a turn off to voters across party lines.
Brown leads Josh Mandel by 17 points at 48-31, Ken Blackwell by 18 points at 51-33, Jim Jordan by 18 points at 49-31, Mary Taylor by 19 points at 50-31, and Kevin Coughlin by 21 points at 51-30.
Part of the reason Brown does well in these match ups is his decent popularity but maybe even more important is the weakness of his potential opponents. Blackwell is the only one known to more than 50% of voters in the state but they don't like him. Just 21% have a favorable opinion to 34% who rate him negatively. None of the others can crack 36% name recognition. That's Taylor who voters are split on with 18% holding a positive opinion of her and 18% a negative one. Everyone else has a negative favorability number- it's 15/18 for Mandel, 10/17 for Jordan, and 4/16 for Coughlin.
What's interesting about Brown's situation is that six months ago it did look like he would be in a lot of trouble for reelection. When we polled Ohio in December he only led Taylor by 2 points and he had just an 8 point advantage on Jordan. John Kasich is probably the best thing that ever happened to Brown's reelection prospects. It wasn't long after Kasich took office that Ohio voters started moving strongly back toward the Democratic column and Brown, along with Barack Obama, may be the biggest beneficiary of Kasich's fall from grace.
Brown's approval numbers aren't stellar and there are a lot more undecided Republicans than Democrats in all of these match ups so they'll likely tighten up over time. But this is looking at best like a second tier Republican pick up opportunity and it's bordering on third tier.
Full results here