A new poll out Monday from Emerson College shows Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) closing the gap on incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in their race for the U.S. Senate.
The poll shows Brown still with the lead, but by a margin of only six points, 49 to 43 percent, with eight percent still undecided.
The poll of likely Ohio voters was conducted Oct. 26-28 by Emerson Polling at Emerson College in Boston.
The margin from polling one month earlier showed Brown 10 points ahead, and polls from back in August had him leading by 16 points.
Renacci started out with significant disadvantages, jumping into the race late and going up against one of the most well-oiled fundraising machines in the U.S. Senate. Brown has raised more than three times the amount of money as Renacci and has used that money to flood the airwaves with negative ads against the congressman.
With momentum on his side, the Renacci team believes they have a good shot of carrying the ball over the goal line.
Leslie Shedd, senior communications adviser to the Renacci campaign, said many Ohioans don’t even pay much attention to the candidates until two or three weeks before the election, making early polls in August meaningless, and September’s polls weren’t much better.
“As people start to firm up their decision on who they are voting for, they come home to the Republican Party,” Shedd told The Ohio Star. “We have actually seen more Republican absentee ballots being returned per ORP tracking, which is unexpected as our base are generally Election Day voters.”
Shedd also pointed out that, if after 25 years in Washington, eight percent of voters are still undecided on Brown, “we expect them to break our way.”
“Brown has been using the millions of dollars he’s raked in from lawyers, lobbyists and Washington special interest groups to launch ‘false,’ ‘misleading,’ and ‘fake news’ attacks on Jim Renacci,” Shedd added. “But all that money hasn’t helped him. After more than $13 million on television ads alone, Brown still can’t break 50 percent with just six days left in the race. That’s because Ohio is a purple state that knows Sherrod Brown is the 4th-most liberal senator who doesn’t represent them anymore – he represents the liberal special interest groups that fill his campaign war chest.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.