As any political pundit worth his or her salt will tell you, you can’t win the presidency as a Republican, Democratic, Whig or Bull Moose party member without winning the state of Ohio. Right now, President Barack Obama leads all GOP challengers there.
The quintessential swing state has done just that over the last two cycles, with Democrats making gains in 2006 and 2008 and Republicans taking some back 2010. In 2006, the Goverorship went Democratic for the first time in sixteen years, and incumbent GOP Sen. Mike DeWine lost his re-election bid in the wake of former Gov. Bob Taft (R) becoming the first Ohio Chief Executive to be convicted of a crime. In 2008, President Obama took the state by well over 200,000 votes.
But in 2010 Republican John Kasich beat then Gov. Ted Strickland as the GOP wave swept the country. As we approach 2012, the GOP may once again be poisoning the well of public opinion, and the possible electoral results are starting to show.
In a new Quinnipiac poll President Obama receives a disapproval rating of 50% against 46% approval, yet leads head-to-head match ups against former MA Gov. Mitt Romney 45 - 41, Rep. Michele Bachman 49 - 36, undeclared maybe-candidate TX Gov. Rick Perry 47 - 35, and former AK Gov. Sarah Palin 51 - 35. Assistant Director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institue Peter Brown wrote, “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.”
Additionally, Sen. Sherrod Brown, who had registered negative job approval ratings in early 2010, has skyrocketed in the wake of Gov. John Kasich’s push against organized labor and subsequent fall in the polls. Voters now think that Brown deserves reelection by at 47 - 33 margin, and his job approval stands at 49 - 30, even higher than the TPM Poll Average of 47.0 - 27.5. The poll shows Brown beating front-running challenger Josh Mandel 49 - 34, and Ohio state Senator Kevin Coughlin 50 -32.
The Quinnipiac poll includes telephone interviews with 1,659 registered Ohio voters, was conducted from July 12th to the 18th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.