Quinnipiac University released a poll today showing, consistent with other recent polls, that Republican Rob Portman continues to hold a narrow single-digit lead against both Democrats vying for the nomination. In the race for the Democratic nomination, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher appears to have opened up a small lead over Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, which may help explain (at least in part) Brunner's hard charge left on heatlhcare.
More interesting to me, though, are what the poll shows when you drill down even further. Portman, like most Republicans running in 2010, is leading his Democrat challengers by double digits among independents (+12 against both Democrats). This helps explain the trend lines; a year ago, Portman was trailing Fisher by 15 and Brunner by 10 in Quinnipiac polling.
More importantly, however, the Q-Poll shows how badly the Democrats' brand has been damaged in Ohio. While the Republican party favorables are not great (-9 overall, -18 among independents), the Democrat party favorables are completely in the toilet (-12 overall, -30 among independents). Compare these numbers to the numbers for the Tea Party movement, which enjoys a +9 favorability rating overall, and +16 among independents despite months of trashing by both Obama and the liberal media. These are the kinds of numbers that spell doom for the Democratic Party's chances of either capturing this seat, or retaining the Governor's Mansion in 2010. If they hold through 2012, they also could spell trouble for Barack Obama's chances of retaining the White House.