Portman, Clinton up in new Ohio polls

A new poll shows Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leading Republican Donald Trump by two percentage points in Ohio while a pair of surveys released Wednesday have Sen. Rob Portman coasting to an easy victory over Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.

The poll by Monmouth University in New Jersey shows Clinton with the backing of 44 percent of those likely to vote in Ohio while 42 percent say they will support Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson, who appears on the ballot as an independent, received five percent in the poll, with one percent going to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

The poll is among the first in weeks to show Clinton overtaking Trump in Ohio, a state the New York real estate developer must win to have any chance to amass the 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

On Monday, a Quinnipiac University poll of 497 likely voters in Ohio had Trump with a five-point lead over Clinton, 47 to 42 percent with Johnson at six percent and Stein with one percent.

Like Quinnipiac, the new Monmouth poll was conducted after last month’s presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. The Monmouth poll of 405 likely voters in Ohio was conducted between Saturday and Tuesday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Quinnipiac and Monmouth also released separate polls Wednesday showing Portman with a nearly insurmountable lead over Strickland, the former governor who has been unable to raise the millions of dollars needed to run an effective campaign.

Quinnipiac shows Portman leading Strickland by 17 points, 55-to-38, while Monmouth has Portman leading by a similar margin of 54 to 39 percent.

“Anything can happen in politics, but it would take a collapse of historic proportions” for Portman to lose, said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

Portman, in contrast to Trump who is struggling with women voters, is doing well with female voters in the Quinnipiac poll, receiving 48 percent of women voters compared to just 44 percent for Strickland. The former governor would need far greater support from women voters to prevail.

The same Quinnipiac poll shows Portman with 64 percent of the male vote while Strickland is winning just 32 percent.

“I admit that I’m behind,” Strickland acknowledged in Columbus. “And that’s what happens I think when $50-some million are spent telling the people of Ohio things that are inaccurate, misleading, exaggerated and flat-out false. But we’ve still got some time.”

“I don’t know if I’m going to win, but I can tell you that I haven’t given up.”

Michawn Rich, a Portman spokeswoman, said “while Democrats abandon Ted Strickland and cancel millions of dollars in advertising on his behalf, Rob is gaining momentum,” a reference to national Democrats scrapping TV commercials that had been scheduled to air in Ohio.

The race was once considered one of the most crucial in the country because a Strickland victory would have given Democrats a chance to regain control of the U.S. Senate from the Republicans.