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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) leads his Republican opponent, Josh Mandel, by 46 percent to 40 percent, showing a tightening race, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University.
And adding Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman as the Republican vice presidential candidate did not significantly improve Republican Mitt Romney’s chances in Ohio against Democratic President Barack Obama among those polled by Quinnipiac.
In March, Senator Brown led Mr. Mandel 46 percent to 36 percent. The poll shows that Mr. Brown held steady, but still below the critically important threshold of 50 percent, while Mr. Mandel moved closer. Mr. Mandel has begun to blanket the state with advertising that plays up his service as a Marine in Iraq.
In the presidential contest, if Mr. Portman is added to the ticket, President Obama and Mr. Romney are in a dead heat at 45-45 percent, a slight improvement over Mr. Obama’s 45-44 lead in a matchup with no running mates named.
The 1 percentage point change is not considered statistically significant because the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The same question was asked in February, and the survey found that President Obama and his running mate Joe Biden had 47 percent to 43 percent for a Romney-Portman ticket.
“Adding Senator Rob Portman to the Romney ticket produces no measurable change, despite speculation about Portman’s potential for helping Romney carry the key state of Ohio,” Quinnipiac assistant director Peter Brown said.
Mr. Portman, from the Cincinnati area, is one of a handful of Republicans known to be possible GOP vice presidential running mates.
Ohio is the most important swing state to the Republican ticket because no Republican has been elected without carrying the state. Mr. Brown noted that George W. Bush carried Ohio by 2 percent to be re-elected in 2004.
The poll said that 59 percent of Ohio voters say they don’t know enough about Mr. Portman to have an opinion of him, with 26 percent viewing him favorably and 14 percent unfavorably.
Vice President Biden has a split 39–39 percent favorability rating while Mr. Romney has a 35–37 percent favorability and President Obama a 48–47 percent score.
Ohio voters give President Obama a split 49–48 percent job approval rating in the poll.
In the Brown-Mandel Senate race, Senator Brown leads among independent voters 42 percent to 38 percent. He leads among women 50–34 percent while Mr. Mandel leads among men 46–41.
Senator Brown has a 41-30 percent favorability rating. Mr. Mandel has a 30-18 percent favorability rating, with 51 percent not knowing enough to form opinion, compared with 71 percent in February. Mr. Mandel was elected to his first statewide office, treasurer, in 2010.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,069 registered voters May 2-7. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.