PPP’s new Ohio poll finds Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton 42-39 in the state, with Gary Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 2%. Voters who support either Johnson or Stein or are undecided in the full field go to Clinton by an 18 point margin if they had to pick between just Clinton and Trump, making the head to head match up a 45/45 tie.
When PPP last polled Ohio in June Clinton led 44/40. The tightening of the race has come completely thanks to Trump consolidating his support among Republican voters. Where he had only a 66/15 advantage with them in June, he’s now ahead 82/9. Clinton’s actually seen some consolidation with her base as well, going from a 76/13 lead with Democrats last time to now 84/11. Independents have remained completely steady- Clinton was up 39/38 with them in June, and she’s up 41/40 with them now. Trump’s ‘bump’ is the normal unification of his party base following its convention.
There’s one big finding in this poll that bodes quite well for Clinton moving forward. 48% of voters in the state say they’d choose Barack Obama if the choice was between him and Trump, to only 44% who say they’d go with Trump. And among voters who are undecided in a Clinton/Trump head to head, there is a 30 point preference for Obama over Trump. That suggests that Clinton may have more room to grow than Trump in Ohio in the weeks ahead- and also that the President may be the best surrogate she has out on the campaign trail.
The convention does seem to have been a success in Ohio though- 43% of voters in the state think it was a success for the GOP to 38% who think it was a failure. And 68% of voters in the state are glad the convention was held in Ohio to only 13% who wish it would have been held somewhere. One clear takeaway from our post convention polling is that Trump’s family may be the best surrogates he has. Trump’s children get a collective 51/21 favorability rating from voters in Ohio, and voters appear to be pretty nonplussed by Melania’s plagiarism scandal as she comes in at 43/30 favorability. Among the political figures who spoke at the convention Ben Carson (49/34 favorability) and Rudy Giuliani (45/33) fare well with Ohioans while Newt Gingrich (38/42) and Chris Christie (32/46) don’t do as hot.
The biggest loser from the convention is Ted Cruz though. He has an 18/65 favorability rating with Ohio voters, making him by far and away the least popular figure in our poll. Even among Republicans he’s at just 23/61. We asked GOP voters who they would support in a hypothetical primary contest between Trump and Cruz, and Trump wins out 61-19.
Mike Pence didn’t make a strong impression on voters in Ohio one way or another. A 40% plurality came out of the convention with no opinion. Among those who do have one, 33% see him favorably to 27% with a negative view. 53% of voters say Pence’s selection has no bearing on their likelihood to vote for Trump one way or another, with 21% saying Pence makes them more likely to vote for Trump and 22% less likely. That just makes Pence normal in the pantheon of Vice Presidential selections, which rarely have much impact on the race.
One of the defining memories of the Republican convention will be the chants of ‘Lock Her Up’ and that mantra represents the thinking of the overwhelming majority of Trump voters. 74% of them think Clinton should be in prison, to only 11% who say that they disagree with that sentiment. A plurality of Trump voters- 38%- also agree with Carson’s assertion that Clinton has ties to Lucifer compared to just 35% who think that’s not the case. And only 47% of Trump voters disavow Steve King’s claim that white people have contributed more to civilization than any other subgroup with 23% outright agreeing with that line of thought. So none of the controversial things that were said last week seem to particularly concern the Trump voter base.
Finally we found that only 6% of Ohioans have a favorable opinion of Vladimir Putin to 66% with a negative one. Donald Trump himself might like Putin, but among his supporters Putin has only an 8/62 favorability rating. The Russian issue may be an effective one for Democrats in the days ahead.
Full results here