Poll shows Obama beating Romney, Cain and Perry in Ohio

Ohio voters aren’t exactly fans of President Obama, but, as of right now, they still would choose him for president over any of the GOP frontrunners. According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 51 percent of Ohioans disapprove of the way the president has done his job, compared to just 43 percent who approve. A plurality even go so far as to say he doesn’t deserve reelection.

Yet, the poll shows that Obama would best Mitt Romney by 45 percent to 41 percent, Herman Cain by 47 percent to 41 percent and Rick Perry by 47 to 36 percent.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said it best: “Ohio voters are not happy with the president’s performance and don’t think he deserves a second term. But elections are about choices. At this point none of the Republicans are able to take advantage of these presidential negatives. The next year will determine if the GOP is able to nominate a candidate who can do so.”

All along, I’ve viewed the president’s abysmal approval ratings with a grain of salt. As I’ve written before, it’s one thing to disapprove of the way a president performs; it’s another to vote against him. Consider again that some polls show even liberal voters disapprove of the president’s job performance — but those folks aren’t about to vote for the GOP candidate. At best, they might stay home out of disappointment or apathy.

The GOP candidate will have to turn out strong support in Ohio if he or she hopes to beat Obama there — and Ohio is no insignificant state. Remember:

Ohio’s 18 electoral votes are expected to be pivotal in the 2012 presidential election. George W. Bush sealed his 2004 re-election by narrowly winning the state over Sen. John Kerry. In 2008, Obama beat Sen. John McCain in the state by 5 points. But the GOP won big there in last year’s midterm elections, taking back the governor’s office and five House seats held by Democrats.

Right now, of the GOP candidates, Cain is the favorite among Ohio voters. The former Godfather’s pizza CEO has lined up 28 percent support there. Compare that with Mitt Romney’s 23 percent or Rick Perry’s poor 4 percent. (Ron Paul receives 8 and Newt Gingrich 7.) According to Brown, a zero-sum relationship exists between how well Cain and Perry do; Cain’s ascent has almost exactly corresponded with Perry’s descent in Ohio.

But if Cain is to beat Obama in Ohio and nationwide, he’ll have to up his name recognition. For that, viral ads — however bizarre — should help. As has often been pointed out about Cain, once voters know him, they like him.

Incidentally, lest we forget about other important races to occur in 2012, the poll also shows Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown still in the lead in the Senate race there. That’s a seat the GOP should be able to take, if for no other reason than that Brown has been closely affiliated with the green energy loan program that has cost taxpayers so much and returned so little. The GOP has a strong candidate in Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. All he needs to win is a little more visibility.

Again and again, I’ll say it: Obamacare repeal is only possible with the support of the Senate — and repeal still remains essential to restoring the economy and federalism — and also, frankly, to devising a truly affordable and accessible health care system.

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