By Chris Cillizza | The Washington Post
Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland is ahead of Sen. Rob Portman (R) by nine points in a new Quinnipiac University poll out today, a result that has to make Democrats eyeing the possibility of retaking the Senate in 2016 very, very happy.
Strickland stands at 48 percent to 39 percent for Portman, who, after stints in the House and the Bush administration, is in the midst of his first Senate term. Strickland’s lead is built almost exclusively on an 18-point edge over Portman among independents — although he also wins a larger portion of self-identified Democrats (85 percent) than Portman does among Republicans (79 percent).
Why is this poll such good news for Democrats? Because it makes clear that Ohio is very much in play with Strickland as their nominee (the former governor still faces a primary from Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld). That makes the 2016 playing field a seat bigger, giving Democrats more margin for error as they try to win back the four (if a Democrat wins the White House) or five (if he/she — but really she — doesn’t) seats they need to reclaim the majority.