FDL/SurveyUSA, 1/12-1/14, 600 likely voters, Margin of Sampling error ± 4.1%

If there were an election for US House of Representatives today, and the only two candidates on the ballot were Democrat Steve Driehaus and Republican Steve Chabot, who would you vote for?

Steve Driehaus (D) 39%
Steve Chabot (R ) 56%
Undecided 5%

A new SurveyUSA poll sponsored by Firedoglake shows incumbent Democrat Steve Driehaus substantially behind former Republican Congressman Steve Chabot in Ohio’s 1st congressional district. If the election were held today, Chabot would beat Driehaus in a head-to-head match up, 56% to 39%.

The 2010 election will be a rematch of the last cycle. In 2008, Driehaus managed to unseat Chabot, who had represented the 1st district for over a decade, by 52.5% to 47.5%. Given Chabot’s long political history in the district it should be safe to assume that both candidates have high name recognition. The race is currently rated a toss up by the Cook Political Report.

President Obama job approval rating is very low in the district and could be hurting Driehaus:

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President?

Approve 42%
Disapprove 55%
Not Sure 3%

Individual Mandate

The districts of Snyder and Driehaus were selected by FDL in an effort to poll districts with a 50/50 split to see what movement there would be on the issue of the individual mandate.  Both races are currently rated toss-ups by Cook’s Political Report, but the baseline polling in both districts was far from 50/50 and the already-depressed numbers of the incumbents made it difficult to ascertain what the true impact of the mandate would be in a close race.

While 49% of voters in the district think it is a good idea to require everyone to carry health insurance, 46% think it is a bad idea. But when asked about the fine of up to 2% of their income for failure to comply, the vast majority of voters (70%) considered it unfair while 22% thought it was fair and 8% were undecided.

Would you prefer Representative Steve Driehaus to vote for the version of the health care law that includes the requirement to carry private health insurance? To vote for a version of health care reform that does NOT include this requirement? Or, to vote against any health care bill?

For bill with requirement: 28%
For bill without requirement: 28%
Against Any bill: 40%
Not Sure: 5%

The general concept of health care reform appears to remain relatively popular in the district. Only 40% of the people want Driehaus to vote against any possible health care bill. The rest of voters are evenly split, with 28% preferring the bill without an individual mandate and 28% preferring the bill with an individual mandate.

Overall, the results in Ohio’s 1st district strongly resemble the results of the recent FDL/SurveyUSA poll of Arkansas’ 2nd. In both districts the incumbent Democrat is significantly behind the Republican challenger. Health care reform and the individual mandate appear slightly more popular in Ohio’s 1st. This may be due to the fact that the district is more Democratic leaning, or because it has not been subjected to the same heavy volume of health care ads that Arkansas has.