Tight Race for President in Ohio

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Ohio poll finds that the race in the state continues to be very tight. Hillary Clinton’s at 44% to 43% for Donald Trump, 5% for Gary Johnson, and 2% for Jill Stein. If voters had to choose just between Clinton and Trump, Clinton’s advantage remains one point at 48/47.

Ohio’s emblematic of what we see in much of the country. Voters don’t like Hillary Clinton- she has a 42/54 favorability rating. But they like Donald Trump even less, with his favorability coming in at 38/56. To put Trump’s unpopularity in the state in perspective, we asked Ohioans whether they have a more favorable opinion of Trump or the University of Michigan- and ‘That School Up North’ beat out Trump 48/33.

One thing that could help Clinton win Ohio in the end is that voters in the state say they’d rather have four more years of Barack Obama as President than Trump, 51/45. If Clinton can effectively convince voters she would be the continuation of the country’s current direction that they prefer to the sharp pivot a Trump presidency would represent, it could put her over the top here.

There’s been a lot of attention paid in the last week to Trump’s tax returns and it’s clear the attention is hurting him in Ohio. Only 35% of voters in the state think Trump pays his fair share in federal income taxes, to 47% who think he doesn’t. Among those who don’t think Trump pays his fair share, he’s trailing Clinton 77-9. A plurality of voters in Ohio- 45%- think they personally pay more in taxes than Trump does to only 34% of voters who think Trump pays more. There continues to be a strong consensus among voters that Trump should release his returns- 61% say he ought to do that, to only 25% who don’t think it’s necessary. Of course one reason for his reluctance may be that releasing his returns could confirm a suspicion that voters have about Trump’s finances- only 35% believe that he’s as rich as he says he is.

Other findings from Ohio:

-There’s been a lot of discussion this week about whether Donald Trump is a good role model for children, and voters in Ohio pretty emphatically say that he is not. Just 23% consider him to be a good role model, with 64% saying he isn’t. It’s not surprising that only 3% of Clinton voters think Trump’s a good role model, with 96% saying that he isn’t. But what’s more striking is that even among Trump’s own voters, just 46% will say that he’s a good role model, to 31% who say he isn’t, and 23% who aren’t sure.

-One under covered reason for the struggles Hillary Clinton’s had over the course of this campaign might be sexism. We asked voters in Ohio- specifically saying not in regards to this year’s candidates- if they thought the country was generally better off with a man or woman as President. Among Trump voters 40% said the country would be better off with a man as President. Clinton supporters are much less likely to say that gender matters, with only 17% saying the country would generally be better off with a woman.

-There continues to be a pervasive feeling among Trump voters that if Hillary Clinton wins the election, it will only be because of voter fraud. 71% of Trump voters say that if Clinton wins it will be because the contest was rigged, to only 13% who grant that it might be because she got the most votes in the election.

-The US Senate election continues to look good for Republicans, with Rob Portman leading Ted Strickland 51-36. Early attacks on Strickland helped Portman to strengthen his position in this race over the summer, and the toll of those is reflected in Strickland’s 31/48 favorability rating. But Portman’s become a lot more popular in his own right over the course of the campaign, and now sports a 44/32 approval rating.

-John Kasich has a 44/36 approval rating, and it breaks down in a fascinating matter. Among Trump voters only 48% approve of him to 37% who disapprove, very weak numbers for a Governor with supporters of his party’s nominee for President. But among Clinton voters, he is on positive ground with 41% of them approving of him to 36% who disapprove. Those are exceedingly strong numbers for a Republican Governor to have with supporters of the Democratic candidate for President. Kasich’s 44/36 overall approval is pretty unremarkable, but the underlying data is fascinating.

-It’s a testament to LeBron James’ popularity in Ohio that he still has a 60/18 favorability rating in the state even after taking sides in the Presidential race. There is a big split based on Presidential vote- he’s at 77/8 with Clinton voters and 45/29 with Trump voters- but he’s still an exceedingly popular figure.

-Urban Meyer might be the next most popular person in the state, with 55% of voters seeing him favorably to 7% who have a negative opinion of him. He has another thing going for him too- 62% of voters in the state think Ohio State would win a football game against the Cleveland Browns, to only 23% who think the NFL team would prevail.

-As bad as the Browns might be they’re still the state’s NFL team of choice, beating out the Bengals 43/29. That’s consistent with the state’s general preference for the Cleveland sports teams- the Indians beat out the Reds 44/34.

-There’s very little Trump supporters have a higher degree of unanimity about that than their support of Native American insignia for sports teams. When we polled Virginia in June we found that 90% of Trump voters were opposed to the Washington Redskins changing their name, to only 3% who supported it. It’s a similar story when it comes to the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo- 82% of Trump voters approve of it to only 1% who disapprove. Clinton voters are fine with it too- approving of it 52/17- but it’s not the kind of unifying force for them that it is for Trump backers.

Full results here

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