Is Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in big trouble in 2012?
In a PPP poll released today, Brown is tied in a hypothetical rematch with Mike DeWine, whom he beat by 12 points four years ago. Perhaps more concerning for Brown, he barely edges three other potential challengers despite the fact that they are each virtually unknown to over 60% of the electorate.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they would vote for Brown, the same percentage who said they preferred DeWine in a head-to-head matchup. In the next closest race, incoming Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor trailed Brown by only two percentage points, 40% to 38%, even though 65% of respondents did not know Taylor well enough to form an opinion of her.
In the other two contests PPP polled, Brown held a 43% to 35% lead over Rep. Jim Jordan, and topped incoming Secretary of State Jon Husted 43% to 38%. Yet Jordan and Husted are both, like Taylor, unknown to a large majority of voters. Almost three-fourths of respondents could not give a favorable or unfavorable opinion on Jordan, and 62% had the same issue with Husted.
The poll also found that only 40% of voters approved of Brown’s performance in the Senate, while 37% disapproved.
From the PPP release on the poll:
Brown’s ceiling right now is a dangerously low 43%, and he is only narrowly winning these hypothetical matchups because an unusually high 14-38% of Republicans and independents are undecided.
That could be problematic for Brown as the election nears and his potential challengers become better known across the state, particularly to those undecided Republican and independent voters.
Brown could also be dragged down by President Obama, whose approval rating in the state has been drastically trending down since his inauguration. Only 42% of voters in the latest PPP survey said they approved of the job he was doing, versus 49% who disapproved. The TPM Poll Average shows an even wider gap, giving Obama a 38.6% approval rating to a 53.3% disapproval rating.
The PPP poll, which surveyed 510 Ohio voters December 10-12, has a margin of error of 4.3%.