The news out of Ohio from Quinnipiac this morning represents modest improvement for Republicans, but no reason to break out the party hats yet:
The presidential race in Ohio remains too close to call as President Barack Obama gets 45 percent to 44 percent for Republican Mitt Romney, with a 45 – 45 percent dead heat if the GOP adds home-state Sen. Rob Portman as Romney’s running mate, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Ohio’s other U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, holds a 46 – 40 percent lead over State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican challenger, compared to a 46 – 36 percent Brown lead in a March 29 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University. This is the first survey showing the race in single digits.
The Romney-Portman v. Obama-Biden match up compares to a February 15 survey in which Obama had 46 percent to Romney’s 44 percent without running mates, moving to Obama-Biden at 47 percent to Romney-Portman at 43 percent.
Notice Romney is winning independents in Ohio, 43 percent to 39 percent; white women split 44 percent to 44 percent.
The news of Mandel looking more competitive is more significant, as Brown appeared to be a vulnerable incumbent in a swing state that shifted heavily to Republicans in 2010 . . . but one who enjoyed a healthy lead so far (although notice how consistently Brown’s support tops out in the high 40s). One of the ways Republicans can maximize their chances of retaking the Senate is to put as many of the cycle’s races “in play,” and for now, Ohio looks like it will be “in play.”