Yesterday, we showed President Obama enjoying a surge in Ohio. At the same time, Sen. Sherrod Brown has almost doubled his lead over likely Republican opponent, State Treasurer Josh Mandel, in the three weeks since we last polled the race.
In mid-October, Brown topped Mandel by a 48-40 margin. That is now 49-34. This latest poll was taken among likely voters in Tuesday’s election which saw the overwhelming upheaval of John Kasich’s anti-labor bill. 30% of the Republicans who turned out voted against Senate Bill 5, and they are much more open to voting for both Obama and Brown than the general GOP electorate. 14% of the GOP are defecting to Brown now, twice as many as in the previous poll. Independents have also moved from 44-41 in favor of Mandel to 38-34 for Brown. Brown’s own party is now slightly more united behind him as well, from 83-8 to 85-5.
Though still not stellar, Brown’s approval rating has risen a hair from 40-35 to 42-33. His new colleague Rob Portman continues to be a nonentity to his constituents; 25% approve and 24% disapprove of his performance so far.
Mandel is still an unknown to two-thirds of voters, so he has room to create an appealing image in voters' minds. But Brown has consistently been near 50% in our polls already. To win, Mandel is going to have to shore up his party support and either cut into the Democratic vote or keep Brown at less than 40% of the independent vote, where he is now. It's a tall task.
Redistricting may make some of their districts harder to win, but Democrats could still make gains or at least hold their current seats in the state’s House delegation. They have a 10-point lead in the generic ballot, with 49% of Ohioans favoring the Democratic candidate in their district to 39% for the Republican. Independents prefer the GOP, 38-31, but Democrats are in lock-step behind their own candidates, 94-3, while Republicans are a little less united right now, 84-8.
Full results here