Incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Portman is leading his Democratic challenger Ted Strickland by 17 points in the Ohio Senate race, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
In the survey of likely Ohio voters, 55 percent support Portman while only 38 percent are backing Strickland, a former governor of the state.
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The new figures indicate that Strickland continues to slip in the polls in a state Democrats had hoped would help them regain control of the Senate, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
A Quinnipiac poll in September showed Portman leading by 11 percentage points. The race was once considered one of the most crucial in the country because a Strickland victory would have given Democrats a chance to regain control of the U.S. Senate from the Republicans.
But alarmed at Strickland’s poor showings in the polls and his inability to raise anywhere near the amount of money he needs has prompted national Democrats to cancel millions of dollars in TV commercials on behalf of Strickland.
Portman has also won a string of endorsements from groups that normally support Democrats, such as labor unions and African American religious leaders. Strickland’s embrace of anti-coal groups has also not sat well in a state, where many areas count on coal mines.
On Tuesday, Portman’s campaign announced its best fundraising quarter yet, raking in $4.5 million over three months.