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Poll: Ohioans like President Obama

By Marc Kovac

Thursday, September 17, 2009

By Marc Kovac

COLUMBUS — Ohioans generally approve of President Barack Obama’s work in office, but they’re split on a federal overhaul of health care.

That’s according to the latest poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, released Wednesday.

Of the 1,074 Ohio voters it questioned over the past week, 53 percent gave Obama positive approval ratings, compared to 42 percent who did not.

That’s up from 49 percent — 44 percent during the institute’s July poll.

But respondents were evenly split, at 44 percent to 44 percent, on the president’s health-care plan.

“Perhaps it’s because the poll was taken immediately after the president’s nationally televised, prime-time speech,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the institute, said in a released statement.

He added, “Getting back above 50 percent in Ohio, a critical swing state, could be important for Obama, but this is a far cry from his 62 percent to 31 percent grade in [May].”

The Connecticut-based Quinnipiac regularly gauges Ohio voters’ opinions on candidates and issues.

In its latest poll, it questioned respondents’ attitudes toward the president and on Ohio candidates for U.S. Senate.

Among the results:

UA total of 49 percent of voters said they trust Obama more than congressional Republicans to handle health-care reform, compared to 28 percent who said the opposite.

Fifty percent said they believe Republicans “are more interested in seeing Obama fail than in playing a constructive role in health-care reform,” Brown said.

“Ohioans seem to like Obama more than his policies,” he added. “Their rating of his job handling the economy flipped from 46 percent to 48 percent negative in July to 48 percent to 46 percent positive in September, while on health care they are split down the middle.”

ULt. Gov. Lee Fisher holds a 26 percent to 17 percent lead over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican George Voinovich. Another 55 percent of voters are still undecided.

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Portman leads Cleveland-area car dealer Tom Ganley, 27 percent to 9 percent, with 61 percent undecided.

Both Democrats outpaced both Republicans in potential fall matchups.