Former Bush administration official Rob Portman’s (R) lead in the race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) has shrunk to six points, according to a new poll from Rasmussen out today.
Portman leads Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) 47-41 in the new survey of 750 likely voters, conducted Aug. 29. The margin of error is 4%. In the last Rasmussen poll of the race, conducted Aug. 16, Portman led 48-39.
Both polls include results from “leaners,” respondents who first say they are undecided about the race and are then pressed by the pollster to make a decision about which candidate they’re more likely to support in the end. “Early in any campaign, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant,” Rasmussen writes. “Later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more.”
With campaign season essentially fully underway, the results of the Rasmussen poll suggests that Fisher has at least a fighting chance in the contest. Since his convincing win in the bitter Democratic primary May 4, Fisher’s campaign has been plagued by bad press, including reports of numerous staff shakeups and low fundraising totals.
The TPM Poll Average for the contest shows that despite the setbacks, the Senate race in Ohio remains among the nation’s most competitive. Portman leads in the average 44.8-40.9.
Despite the new Rasmussen total, however, trend lines show momentum in the polls generally headed in Portman’s direction: