Obama Leads Republican Hopefuls in Ohio

Obama Leads Republican Hopefuls in Ohio

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 21, 2011

Though 50 percent of Ohio voters disapprove of Barack Obama's job performance, the president still leads his Republican challengers in the key swing state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

While Obama receives high job approval marks from Democrats, 84 percent to 11 percent, his overall ratings are upside down, with 46 percent approving of the job he is doing as president and 50 percent disapproving. The president doesn't appear to impress independent voters either: 54 percent disapprove of his job performance. Fifty-eight percent of registered voters disapprove of how Obama is handling the economy, while 37 percent approve. When it comes to his re-election, the majority of Democrats support his bid for a second term, but 51 percent of independents say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected. The general electorate is split on whether to send Obama back to the White House: 46 percent say he deserves a second term while 47 percent say he does not.

However, Obama leads several top Republican challengers in Ohio. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney comes closest to Obama in a head-to-head matchup, trailing the president, 41 percent to 45 percent. The pair run even among independents and receive the same amount of support from their respective political bases. Obama tops former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 51 percent to 35 percent; leads Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, 49 percent to 36 percent; and beats Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 47 percent to 35 percent.

Ohio figures to be an important barometer for the president's re-election success. The Buckeye State voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and in 2004 but swung for Obama in 2008. But in the 2010 midterms, the state chose a Republican governor over the Democratic incumbent, and five Democratic House members lost their seats to the GOP.

The poll brings good news for Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown's re-election chances, however. Brown defeats Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, 49 percent to 34 percent, and state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, 50 percent to 32 percent. The incumbent also enjoys secure approval ratings: 49 percent approve of his job performance while 30 percent disapprove. Additionally, 47 percent say he deserves another six-year term while 33 percent say he does not.

Still, despite these high marks for Brown, the race could be competitive. Mandel has already demonstrated his fundraising prowess, bringing in $2.3 million in the second quarter of this year, compared to $1.5 million for Brown. The senator, however, reported $3.5 million cash on hand. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, who supported a wave of Republican insurgents in the 2010 midterms, endorsed Mandel at the end of June.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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