Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and governor are leading their opponents in Ohio, according to a Suffolk University/Cincinnati Enquirer poll of likely midterm voters. Incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (53 percent) leads Republican Jim Renacci (37 percent) by 16 points, and Democrat Richard Cordray (43 percent) leads Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine (36 percent) by 7 points in the race for governor.

“The composition of the electorate will be different in the midterm than it was in the 2016 election, when Donald Trump won Ohio,” said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Research Center. “Without Trump on the ballot, some of his supporters will stay away. But the anti-Trump voters are intensely focused, and that could benefit the Democrats on the ballot.”

Trump effect

President Trump will be on the minds of many Ohioans as they cast their ballots this fall. In considering their U.S. Senate vote, 21 percent of respondents pointed to Trump as the most important issue.

Fifty-nine percent of voters polled viewed President Trump unfavorably, while 39 percent recorded a favorable assessment. And 49 percent said Trump is not delivering on his promises to Ohio, while 41 percent said he is keeping those promises.

Nearly 49 percent want their vote to change the direction in which the president is leading the nation, while 28 percent want their vote to support his objectives, and 19 percent said their vote has little to do with the president and his policies.

Among those who say they want their vote to support Trump policies, 25 percent said they were “extremely interested” in the U.S. Senate and governor’s races compared to 35 percent of all midterm voters.

Issues of concern

Top issues in the Senate race also include health care (21 percent), the economy (18 percent), gun control (13 percent), and immigration (9 percent). By contrast, the top issues in the governor’s race were the economy (21 percent), health care (18 percent), education (17 percent), and taxes (8 percent).

Half of the respondents said that Ohio is going in the right direction, while 32 percent said it was on the wrong track. Voters are fairly positive about Ohio’s economy with 7 percent rating it excellent, 37 percent good, 41 percent fair and 12 percent poor. Nearly 17 percent said that Ohio state government was extremely or very corrupt, while 54 percent said somewhat corrupt, and 21 percent said not very or not at all corrupt.

The last time Ohio had a midterm election with both a U.S. Senate and gubernatorial race was 2010. That year the final Suffolk poll predicted Republican Rob Portman would defeat Democrat Lee Fisher by 10 points. Portman went on to win by 17 points. In the governor’s race, that Suffolk poll predicted Republican John Kasich would win by 4 points over Democrat Ted Strickland. Kasich won by 2 points.

Methodology

The statewide survey of 500 Ohio likely voters was conducted June 6–June 11. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleolo@suffolk.edu.