A popular U.S. Senator, Voinovich was the heavy favorite to win the election. He had over $9 million in the bank, while his opponent barely had $1.5 million. Fingerhut's campaign was overshadowed by the possible campaign of Democrat and former Mayor of CincinnatiJerry Springer, who eventually declined to run.
Voinovich is considered[by whom?] a moderate on some issues. He supports gun control and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Surprisingly, Voinovich's biggest advantage was getting support from the most Democratic-leaning county in the state, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Kerry carried it with almost 67% of the vote, by far his best performance in the state in 2004. It is the home of Cleveland and it is also most populous county in the state. Voinovich was a former mayor of Cleveland. In addition, he catered to Cleveland's large Jewish population by visiting Israel six times as a first-term U.S. Senator. He also consistently voted for aid to Israel through foreign appropriations bills. He's supported resolutions reaffirming Israel's right to self-defense and condemned Palestinian terrorist attacks. In addition, Fingerhut's home base was in the Cleveland area, and therefore he had to cut in through the incumbent's home base in order to even make the election close.
In a September University of Cincinnati poll, the incumbent lead 64% to 34%. In an October ABC News poll, Voinovich was winning 60% to 35%. He led across almost all demographic groups Only among Democrats, non-whites, liberals, and those who pick health care as #1 issue favor Fingerhut. The election coincided with the presidential election, where Ohio was a swing state. 27% of Voinovich's supporters preferred U.S. Senator John Kerry for president.