Andy Morrison, pool/AP Photo
Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland (l) and his Republican rival, John Kasich after their Oct. 7, 2010 debate in Toledo.
President Obama's campaign visits to Ohio have apparently done little to help Gov. Ted Strickland and may have even hurt since the president is highly unpopular in the state.
A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows that with just two weeks left before Election Day, Strickland is still stuck deep in the hole against former Republican congressman John Kasich who held a ten-point lead over the Democrat.
An excerpt from Quinnipiac's news release:
Kasich's lead is built on a 59 - 32 percent margin among independent likely voters, and a 64 - 29 percent spread among white evangelical Christians, according to the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey conducted by live interviewers.
President Barack Obama remains unpopular among Ohio voters who disapprove 56 - 40 percent of the job he is doing and say 32 - 9 percent they are less likely rather than more likely to vote for Strickland because the President is campaigning for the governor. Independent voters say 35 - 4 percent that Obama's campaigning makes them less likely to vote for Strickland.
"John Kasich's lead has remained the same and the sand is slipping through the hour glass. If Gov. Ted Strickland is going to turn this election around, he needs to do it quickly," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But the obvious question is, 'What can Strickland do in the two weeks before Election Day that he has been unable to do so far?'"
The poll surveyed 1,188 likely voters and had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
The president has made 11 trips to the state but apparently to little avail. He won Ohio in 2008, with Strickland and his political organization working hard for the president's election.
The repeated presidential visits to Ohio indicate just how important the state is to the president and his hopes for re-election. Winning Ohio 20 Electoral College votes makes is an important piece of getting to the magic 270.
In any event, even if Strickland loses it doesn't mean Ohio would necessarily be impossible for Obama to win in 2012. Two years is a life-time in politics. But it would raise the difficulty level of winning Ohio again.