Portman Leads Strickland in Latest Ohio Senate Race Poll

Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) in 2014 / CQ Roll Call via AP
August 22, 2016

Incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R.) continues to lead Democratic challenger Ted Strickland in the Ohio senate race, according to a new poll released on Monday.

Portman leads Strickland by 8 points, according to a new Monmouth University poll, capturing 48 percent among Ohio voters to Strickland’s 40 percent. Eight percent of voters remain undecided, while 4 percent say they would vote for another candidate.

Portman does better among Independents, with 47 percent of such voters preferring Portman versus 37 percent choosing his Democratic challenger. Portman also performs better among those in his own party than Strickland does with voters in his; 88 percent of Ohio Republicans support Portman, while 76 percent of Ohio Democrats back Strickland.

The poll comes at a difficult time for Strickland, who has been scrutinized for telling an audience at a union event that the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia happened at a "good time" for labor. The statement attracted significant media attention earlier this month, and Strickland was later forced to apologize. The new poll was conducted between August 18 and 21, after Strickland made the controversial comment.

Strickland’s campaign has also struggled in fundraising, and the incumbent senator has significantly more cash on hand.

The new results reflect those of previous polls, which have increasingly shown Portman in the lead ahead of the November election. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this month found Portman with a 9-point lead in the race.

Recently, Portman has picked up a flurry of endorsements from labor unions that previously backed Strickland, who represented Ohio in Congress and served one term as the state’s governor. These include the United Mine Workers of America, a union of coal miners, which make up a key voting bloc in Ohio.

According to the new survey, voters are more likely to believe that Portman will represent the interests of workers in Ohio. Twenty-one percent trust Portman "a lot" on this matter and 44 percent "a little," while 23 percent do not trust him. Only 15 percent trust Strickland a lot to represent the interests of Ohio workers, while 41 percent trust him a little and 35 do not trust him.