An Emerson College Polling/The Hill poll of Ohio primary voters shows 39% of Republican primary voters are undecided in the race for Senate and 36% are undecided in the race for Governor. In the open race to fill outgoing Senator Rob Portman's seat, businessman Mike Gibbons leads the Republican primary with 22%, followed by former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel with 15%.
Despite widespread attention on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, just 4% of Ohio voters report foreign affairs as the most important issue facing their state; whereas 26% find inflation to be the most important issue.
A majority 62% of Republican primary voters say an endorsement by former President Donald Trump would make them more likely to support a candidate.
GOP PRIMARY: PLURALITY OF VOTERS UNDECIDED FOR SENATE AND GOVERNOR
“Thirty-six percent of voters in the Republican Senate primary are undecided, and only two, Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel clear double digits,” Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling says, “An endorsement from former President Trump could have a real impact on the race, with 62% of voters indicating Trump would make them more likely to support a candidate.”
- In the race to be the Republican nominee for Senate, Businessman Mike Gibbons holds the most support of the candidates with 22%, followed by former State Treasurer Josh Mandel with 15%, businessman JD Vance with 8%, and former Ohio Republican party chair Jane Timken and State Senator Matt Dolan with 6% respectively.
- Current Senator Rob Portman endorsed Jane Timken to succeed him; however, his endorsement might have hurt Timken’s chances: 38% of GOP voters say it makes them less likely to support her.
- Governor Mike DeWine holds 34% of support, followed by farmer Joe Blystone with 20%, and former Congressman Jim Renacci with 9%; with 36% undecided in who they will vote for in the gubernatorial election.
DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY: MAJORITY OF VOTERS UNDECIDED FOR SENATE AND GOVERNORS ELECTIONS
“Tim Ryan is the leader among Democratic Senate candidates, 31%; however, with 51% of the voters undecided, there is not a sense of strong enthusiasm for Ryan” Kimball continues,“When turning to the gubernatorial primary, 69% of Democratic voters are undecided.”
- Ryan holds 31% support. No other Democratic candidate for US Senate reaches double digits.
- In the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor, 69% of voters are undecided. Mayor of Dayton Nan Whaley and Mayor of Cincinnati John Cranley hold 16% support respectively.
“An endorsement from Joe Biden, with a 73% approval among Democrats, might generate movement in the Democratic gubernatorial and Senate primaries," Kimball notes.
- Overall, a Biden endorsement makes 43% of Democratic voters more likely to support a candidate; has no impact on 45%; and 12% are less likely to support a candidate.
APPROVAL OF BIDEN AND DEWINE
“Governor DeWine’s higher approval among Democrats than Republicans may indicate that his general election chances appear stronger than his primary odds. In the meantime, he must court Independent voters, who he has the lowest approval with, to win the primary as these voters are more likely to vote in the Republican primary than in the Democratic primary,” notes Isabel Holloway, Associate Director at Emerson College Polling.
- Forty-five percent (45%) of voters approve of DeWine’s job as governor, 37% disapprove, and 18% are neutral or have no opinion.
- DeWine has a 47% approval with Democrats, 46% approval with Republicans, and 42% with Independents.
- Fifty-four percent of voters disapprove of Biden’s job as president, while 40% approve, and 6% are neutral or have no opinion.
INFLATION IS THE TOP ISSUE FOR OHIO VOTERS; TRUMP VOTERS LESS LIKELY TO SAY ELECTIONS ARE FAIR
“The poll took place during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; yet foreign affairs placed last at 4% as the most important issue for Ohio voters. Inflation is at the top of Ohio voters’ minds at 26%” Kimball says.
- Among Republican primary voters, inflation is the top issue at 36%, while Democratic primary voters are split between healthcare 22% and jobs 14% as their top issue.
“When it comes to fair elections, 63% of Ohioans think their state runs fair elections. Of those that supported Joe Biden in 2020, 78% believed Ohio’s elections were fair, compared to 56% of those who voted for Donald Trump,” Camille Mumford, Emerson College Polling Communications Director notes.
MAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION AND GAMBLING ON PROFESSIONAL SPORTS
“Should the legalization of recreational marijuana be on the ballot in November 2022, it has a chance of passing, as 50% of Ohio voters support the measure,” Kimball says.
- While 50% of Ohio voters support marijuana legalization, 40% oppose legalization.
- Majorities of Democrats, 66%, and Independents, 50%, support legalization, whereas 52% of Republican voters oppose.
“As Governor DeWine signed sports gambling into law and the state now moves to implement it in the next year, we see a divide in voter attitudes on betting in professional sports versus college sports. Professional sports gambling shows to be more favorable than college sports gambling,” Kimball notes.
- 50% of Ohio voters think gambling in professional sports should be legal in the state. Thirty percent (30%) think it should not be legal and 21% are unsure.
- Regarding gambling on college sports, voters have a different opinion: 49% think it should not be legal and 36% think it should be legal.
MAJORITY OF OHIO REPUBLICANS THINK JANUARY 6 WAS PROTECTED POLITICAL SPEECH
“Voters in Ohio perceive the events of January 6 differently, especially those with postgraduate degrees whom 61% think it was an illegal insurrection compared with 23% who thought it was protected political speech,” Kimball says.
- Voters were asked what comes closer to their view of January 6, 2021: “protected political speech” or “an illegal insurrection.” Forty-four percent, 44%, think it was “protected political speech” whereas 42% think it was an “illegal insurrection,” and 15% are unsure.
- Among Republican primary voters, 60% say it was “protected political speech,” compared to 78% of Democratic primary voters who say it was “an illegal insurrection.”
The Emerson College Polling/The Hill Ohio poll was conducted February 25-26, 2022. The Republican primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=410, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 4.8 percentage points. The Democratic primary sample consisted of likely voters, n=313, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 5.5 percentage points. The general election sample consisted of somewhat likely voters in Ohio, n=723 with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web, an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk, and an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines.