Rasmussen Poll Shows Portman With A Six-Point Lead in Ohio

The Ohio race to fill Sen. George Voinovich’s seat in the U.S. Senate continues to be a close one. Rasmussen reports today that Portman has a six-point lead, but that is essentially the same lead he had at the end of June:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Ohio finds Republican candidate Rob Portman with 45% of the vote while Democrat Lee Fisher earns 39% support this month. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and 11% more are undecided.

These results are little changed from late last month when Portman held a 43% to 39% advantage.

This is the seventh consecutive survey to find Portman’s support in the narrow range of 42% to 44%. Over that same time frame, Fisher has earned 38% to 43% of the vote. The two men were tied in May and June following the winning of their respective party primaries.

The biggest issue in Ohio, as everywhere else, is the economy.  Unemployment has remained near 11 percent since January, and actually hit 11% in March. Since then, the numbers have gone down, from 10.9% in April to 10.5% in June.

Unquestionably, Ohio’s economy has entered a recovery phase, but the crucial factors for November are (1) whether voters decide that a weak economy beats a stagnant economy, or a worsening one; and (2) whether voters give the credit for recovery, albeit a slow one, to Democratic governance (in the White House and Congress, but also in Ohio, since Gov. Ted Strickland is a Democrat).

Today’s successful extension of federal unemployment benefits — blocked since early June by the Republican minority in the Senate — should help in that regard.

The successful campaign by the workers of the Hugo Boss suit manufacturing plant in Brooklyn, Ohio (near Cleveland), to reverse the plant owner’s decision to close the plant and move all the jobs it provided to Turkey could also help convince wavering voters that Democrats care more about Ohioans’ economic struggles than Republicans do. That victory came earlier in the year, when the union reached an agreement with the German company that owns the plant to keep it open — but today’s ceremony celebrating the first new suit off the production line was a timely reminder of why 200 Ohio workers have their jobs back — even though at a price:

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congressman Dennis Kucinich helped the 200 workers at the Hugo Boss plant celebrate the first suit off the line Monday morning, after the German company reached an agreement to keep the plant open. …

Hugo Boss had planned to close the men’s suit manufacturing plant by April, but reached an agreement with union workers earlier this year.

Beres says the grand re-opening of the plant brought back the 200 workers who would have been out of jobs.

The union and Workers United reached a three-year agreement to keep the plant open by having the workers who had previously made $13 an hour come back and make $10 an hour.

Look at those smiling faces, man.

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