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COLUMBUS — A new poll released Thursday shows that Ohioans have mixed feelings about President Obama, giving him a negative grade for his performance but saying they still prefer him over the alternatives presented to date.
The poll by Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University also shows that Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown would defeat both candidates seeking the Republican nomination for his seat if the 2012 election were held today.
Fifty percent of the 1,659 registered voters polled between July 12 and 18 said they disapprove of the President’s performance. That’s up from 45 percent in May, 2011. Forty-six percent approve with the rest undecided.
They’re nearly evenly split—46 percent say “yes” and 47 percent say “no”—as to whether he deserves a second term.
Still, the poll shows him with a lead of 4 percentage points in a potential match-up with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 12 points over Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 13 points over Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, and 16 points over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
In the Republican primary, Mr. Romney, Ms. Palin, and Ms. Bachmann would battle if out for Ohio’s nomination. Of 563 Republicans questioned, 16 percent preferred Mr. Romney, 15 percent preferred Ms. Palin, and 11 percent would pick Ms. Bachmann out of a list of 11 announced and potential candidates.
But 28 percent said they aren’t ready to make any choice a little less than a year out from Ohio’s primary election.
”Ohio voters may not be wild about President Barack Obama, but at this point they appear to like his potential Republican challengers less, and in some cases a lot less,’’ said Peter A. Brown, director of the university’s polling institute.
“His middling job and re-election ratings show that there may be a potential opportunity to defeat President Obama in 2012 in Ohio, but for that to occur the GOP will have to nominate a candidate that can capture the public’s imagination to a degree not yet evident,’’ he said.
The wider poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points so the Obama-Romney match-up would be a statistical tie. The smaller sample of Republican voters for that primary match-up carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent, putting Mr. Romney, Ms. Palin, and Ms. Bachmann in a statistical tie.
The Quinnipiac Poll shows that Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, of Lyndhurst, is the preferred candidate over former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, of Cuyahoga Falls, for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next May. But 46 percent of Republicans polled haven’t made up their minds yet.
Mr. Mandel would get 35 percent of the primary vote as of today compared to 12 percent for Mr. Coughlin.
Both, however, trail first-term Democratic incumbent Senator Brown. He would get 49 percent of the vote if the election were held today to Mr. Mandel’s 34 percent with 17 percent saying they prefer another candidate, wouldn’t vote, or haven’t made up their minds.
Support for Mr. Brown is up four percentage points since May while support for Mr. Mandel has climbed 3 points.
In a Brown-Coughlin match-up, Mr. Brown would win 50 percent to 32 percent. Both solidified their bases of support since May with Mr. Brown up 6 percentage points and Mr. Coughlin up 4 points.