Strickland ekes out lead over Portman in Ohio

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) leads Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHouse passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump MORE (R-Ohio) in their race for Portman’s Senate seat, but only by the margin of error in a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

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Strickland grabs 44 percent support in the poll, slightly more than Portman's 41 percent. The Republican incumbent has also trailed in previous surveys from the polling outlet.

Ohio voters approve of the job Portman is doing by a margin of 45 percent to 26 percent. Portman is viewed favorably by a margin of more than 2-1, 42 percent to 19 percent, while Strickland is viewed favorably 44 percent to 32 percent.

Portman is a top target in 2016 for Democrats, who need to net five seats to get back the majority in the Senate, and he has racked up hundreds of endorsements from public officials and lawmakers in the state.

Among those is Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate. Sixty-one percent of voters in the state approve of the job Kasich is doing, according to the poll, while 28 percent do not.

Strickland, who is well known in the state, has to fend off a challenger in the Democratic primary. But 88 percent say they don't know enough about his rival, 30-year-old Cincinnati city Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.

Sittenfeld, who launched his campaign seven months ago, would lose a matchup to the Republican incumbent 25 percent to 46 percent, according to the Quinnipiac poll.

The survey of 1,096 voters was conducted Aug. 7-18 via landlines and cellphones with a margin of error of 3 points. 

This story was updated at 3:52 p.m.