ADA — A recent poll conducted by Ohio Northern University shows that Ohio’s role in the upcoming presidential election is still up in the air, as voters wrestle with the question of whether they’ll support or spurn President Donald Trump at the polls in 2020.
Many national commentators have questioned if the state’s midterm results pushed Ohio outside of its swing-state status, but ONU Political Science Robert Alexander said poll results show otherwise, especially when it comes to voters’ feelings on Trump.
“Trump did pretty well in Ohio in 2016, but his numbers don’t look so good here,” Alexander said. “A third of Republicans would like to see a (primary) challenger to Trump, which is kind of shocking. A lot of Republicans are happy with Trump policy but not so happy with Trump.”
The ONU poll was conducted in early April prior to the full release of the Mueller Report and fielded responses from 1,505 voters from five different regions — both rural and urban — throughout Ohio. The margin of error was 2.7%.
Alexander said students created the questions and programmed the survey starting in January after receiving grant dollars from Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society.
Questions gauged approval ratings for a number of public figures from both parties and asked respondents about their thoughts on national issues.
According to poll results, public figures that received positive approval ratings include Mike DeWine, John Kasich, Sherrod Brown, Robert Mueller and Barack Obama. Those receiving strong negative approval include Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Howard Schultz and Trump.
Complicating Trump’s approval rating is the health of the overall economy, Alexander said. While historical polling data tends to favor presidential incumbents during times of economic prosperity, half of total respondents expressed dissatisfaction with how Trump “is handling his job.”
“If unemployment were to rise or inflation would increase, Trump would be in very serious trouble,” Alexander said. “Part of what we’re seeing, that while unemployment is low, there’s still a lot of anxiety.”
The survey also took measurements of Democratic presidential candidates from self-identified registered Democrats. Of the crowded field, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren drew the most favorable ratings.
Major issues identified by the poll that may be at play during the 2020 election include health care, immigration and economy.
Among Republicans voters, immigration, health care, the economy, national security and the budget deficit filled the top five spots.
In comparison, Democratic voters identified health care, climate change, the economy, gun control and race relations.
Self-identified independent voters put health care, the economy, immigration, the budget deficit and climate change at the top of their lists.
“There’s a lot of pundits saying that Ohio is going the way of Missouri, and it’s going to be a red state going forward, but the finding of that survey shows that may not be true,” Alexander said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.