Produced by Lynn Hulsey

New poll has Portman leading Strickland by 7 points

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, leads former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland by seven points in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, erasing an earlier lead by the Democrat, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll of swing states.

The poll, released Thursday, also shows Republican incumbent senators leading Democratic challengers in U.S. Senate races in Pennsylvania and Florida.

“The numbers seem to be breaking the Republican way in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, at least when it comes to the critical swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

The poll of 955 Ohio voters showed Portman leading Strickland 47 percent to 40 percent.

“This poll is contradicted by the NBC-WSJ-Marist poll this week which showed the race is tied, even though Senator Portman and his allies have spent over $30 million in false and misleading attacks against Ted,” said David Bergstein, Strickland campaign spokesman.

“Polls will go up and down over the course of the race. Our campaign is focused on sharing Ted’s message of fighting for Ohio’s working people and the truth about Senator Portman: Portman is the ultimate Washington insider, a dedicated outsourcer of American jobs whose support for unfair trade deals has cost Ohio over 300,000 jobs to places like China, and he represents everything Ohioans hate about Washington.”

Portman campaign spokeswoman Michawn Rich said growing support for Portman is obvious as campaigners spread out across the state.

“More than 1,000 volunteers have helped us contact over 2.7 million voters because they are excited about Rob’s message and record of delivering results for Ohio families,” Rich said. “On the other hand, Ted Strickland has rarely been seen in public as he hides from the worst record of any Senate candidate in America.

“As more Ohio voters realize the Ted Strickland running for Senate is the same Ted Strickland with a record of refusing to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices and failed Ohio as governor when the state lost more than 350,000 jobs, Ted Strickland cannot and will not win this race — period.”

The poll did not include three other candidates in the Senate race in Ohio — Green Party candidate Joseph DeMare or independents Scott Rupert or Tom Connors.

The Quinnipiac poll showed voters in Florida favored U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a former Republican presidential contender, over two potential Democratic challengers. It was Rubio over U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy 50 percent to 37 percent, and Rubio besting Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson by 50 percent to 38 percent, according to the poll.

In Pennsylvania, voters polled supported Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, over Democrat Katie McGinty 49 percent to 39 percent.

“Many talking heads have suggested that with Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, Republican Senate candidates might suffer,” Brown said. “But at least in these three key states, the Republican Senate candidates are running ahead of Trump and don’t seem to be hurt by their shared party label.”

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