September 27, 2018
NBC News/Marist Poll Results and Analysis of Ohio
With six weeks to go until Election Day, Ohio Democrats have the energy. The Democrats (85%) outpace the Republicans (68%) in terms of enthusiasm for the upcoming elections and a majority of Buckeye state voters want more Democrats in Congress to provide a check on President Trump’s agenda. Democrats also have a six-point lead in the generic congressional ballot question. A similar proportion say they prefer a Congress controlled by the Democrats.
72% of Ohio registered voters, up from 67% in June, consider this year’s midterm elections to be very important. The proportion of Democrats with this view has grown from 76% previously to 85% now. An increasing proportion of independents, 64% up from 56% in June, also consider the midterm elections to be of the utmost importance. Among Republicans, 68%, notched down from 71%, have this view.
A majority of the Ohio electorate (52%) says their midterm election vote will signal the need for more Democrats to be a check and balance on the power of President Donald Trump. 39% say their ballot will indicate that more Republicans are needed to push through the president’s agenda. Seven percent are unsure. These proportions are little changed from those reported in June. Independents are net +18 points in favor of sending more Democrats to Congress.
“Two years have made a big difference in the outlook of Ohio voters,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Donald Trump won the state by more than eight points. But, now, a majority want more Democrats in Congress as a check on his agenda.”
Fueled by increased support among independents, the Democrats also have a 6-point lead in the generic congressional ballot question. 50% of Ohio registered voters say they are more likely to support the Democrat on the ballot than the Republican (44%).
49% of independent voters, up from 39% in June, back the Democrat for Congress on the ballot. African Americans (84%) and women (57%), especially white women with a college degree (61%), and voters under 45 (55%), including 68% of those under 30, support the Democrat. Men (51%) and white voters (50%) favor the Republican. Voters over the age of 45 divide, 48% for the Republican and 46% for the Democrat.
The Democrats’ lead on the generic congressional ballot question closely reflects voters’ views on congressional control. 49% of voters, up from 43% last time, prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats. 43%, compared with 40% previously, favor a Congress controlled by Republicans. Again, independents play a role. 50% of independents, up from 37% in June, prefer a Democratic Congress.
In the race for U.S. Senate in Ohio, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown (49%) leads Republican Jim Renacci (35%) among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Libertarian Bruce Jaynes has 4%, and Green Party candidate Philena Farley has 2%. Support among registered voters closely reflects what the candidates receive among likely voters. 21% of likely voters remain persuadable, that is, are either undecided or may vote differently by November.
56% of likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate strongly support their choice. 63% of Brown’s backers, compared with 54% of Renacci’s supporters, strongly support their candidate selection.
In a two-way race, 52% of likely voters are for Brown while 39% are for Renacci. Similar proportions of registered voters support each candidate. There has been little change on this question since June.
A majority of likely voters (51%) have a favorable opinion of Brown, and 31% do not, a net +20 points. 18% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him. Renacci is not well known among likely voters. 33% have a positive opinion of him, and 29% have a negative one, a net +4 points. 38% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.
The economy and jobs (23%) takes the top spot as the most important factor in determining who registered voters will support in November. Health care follows with 21%. Among Republicans (32%) and independents (27%), the economy and jobs is the top vote issue. Health care (38%) is the leading issue among Democrats.
In the race for Ohio governor, Democrat Richard Cordray (44%) and Mike DeWine (44%) are tied among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. Three percent support Libertarian Travis Irvine, and 3% are for Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton. 17% of likely voters in this contest are persuadable.
54% of likely voters with a candidate preference for governor strongly support their choice. 61% of Cordray’s supporters, compared with 52% of DeWine’s backers, strongly support their candidate.
In a two-way contest, Cordray and DeWine each receives 47% among likely voters. They garner identical support among registered voters in the state. In June, DeWine had a four-point lead among Ohio registered voters.
A plurality of likely voters (44%) have a favorable impression of Cordray, and 28% have an unfavorable one, a net +16 points. 28% have either never heard of Cordray or are unsure how to rate him. DeWine has a similar favorable rating, 47%, and 36% have an unfavorable view of him, a net +11. 17% have either never heard of DeWine or are unsure how to rate him.
President Trump’s approval rating is still upside down (43% to 49%) among Ohio adults. In June, 40% of Ohio residents approved of the president’s job performance, and 48% disapproved.
The proportion of residents who strongly approve of Trump’s job performance is 29% compared with 26% in June. The proportion who strongly disapprove stands at 36% from 38% previously.