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Poll: Strickland, Portman In Dead Heat

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The battle between incumbent Republican Rob Portman and Democratic challenger Ted Strickland for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat is a flat-footed tie, according to a poll released Wednesday morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll had both candidates with 42 percent support. The pollsters say the race has been too close to call for months. The full poll is available here.

Ohio's U.S. Senate race is considered crucial to Democrats' efforts to oust the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

According to the latest poll, Portman – despite being a former U.S. House member, a White House cabinet member and a U.S. Senator for over five years  - still has a substantial number of Ohioans who say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

His favorable rating is 39 percent and his unfavorable rating is 25 percent. But 34 percent said they haven't heard enough about him to know whether they like him or not.

Strickland, a former U.S. House member and a one-term Ohio governor, has a 42 percent unfavorable rating, while 38 percent say they have a favorable opinion and 19 percent said they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"The Ohio Senate race is unusual because it is the rare situation in which the challenger, former Gov. Ted Strickland, is better known than the incumbent being challenged,'' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

But Brown also said the dead heat is "an improvement for Portman, who earlier in the campaign was down as much as nine points."

The poll also asked about approval ratings for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and President Obama.

Kasich, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination and failed, has a 58 percent approval rating among Ohioans, while 32 percent disapprove of the job he is doing.

Ohio voters are divided on President Obama, as 48 percent approve of the job he is doing and 50 percent disapprove. It is his best score in the Quinnipiac Poll in three years.

From June 8 through June 19, Quinnipiac polled 971 Ohio voters. The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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