There are some hints in our Ohio poll this week that Rob Portman's association with the Bush administration will give him some problems with the voters once they're more aware of the connection.
We asked folks on the poll whether they thought George W. Bush or Barack Obama would prove to be a better President. Among those who said Bush would end up being better 54% said they had a favorable opinion of Portman, compared to 7% who said they viewed him unfavorably. 39% had no opinion yet.
Among the respondents who said Obama would prove to be a better President the perceptions of Portman were a lot different, with 10% of those voters holding a positive impression of Portman but 37% having a dim view of him. 52% had no opinion.
There's a big imbalance between Obama partisans and Bush partisans in terms of how many don't know enough about Portman to have an opinion. If Democrats can hang his association with the Bush administration around Portman's neck a lot of those folks with no opinion at this point might move into the unfavorable column- and that could quickly eliminate the initial small leads we showed Portman holding over Lee Fisher, Tim Ryan, and Jennifer Brunner.
Of course how Barack Obama fares over the next two years will go a long way toward determining whether Portman's time working for George W. Bush and Democratic exploitation of the connection ends up sinking his candidacy or not.