GOP Sen. Rob Portman leads Democrat Ted Strickland by an 8-percentage-point margin in a new poll of the Ohio Senate race, the latest in a string of signs that Portman is weathering Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s August slump better than many other members of his party.
Portman leads Strickland 48 percent to 40 percent in the latest Monmouth University poll. Hillary Clinton leads Trump 43 percent to 39 percent in Ohio’s presidential race, meanwhile, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson picking up 10 percent support.
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Portman has focused since early last year on building a reelection campaign that could withstand any election-year turbulence — a strategy now being tested with Trump at the top of the ticket. But as other GOP Senate candidates have seen their poll numbers slide alongside Trump’s in recent weeks, Portman’s 8-point lead in the Monmouth survey reinforces other recent polls, conducted in late July and August, that have found Portman leading Strickland by between 4 and 9 percentage points. Those have been Portman’s best public polling results of the election cycle, and a shift from this past spring, when he and Strickland, a former governor, were neck and neck.
An additional 8 percent of voters told Monmouth they are undecided, and 4 percent said they plan to vote for a different candidate in the race.
Portman hasn’t always been able to insulate himself from the top of the ticket, and his campaign recognizes his fortunes could change.
“Obviously, we’ve had a great month. And obviously we’d rather be us than Governor Strickland right now — but we are taking nothing …