Poll: Clinton Headed for Win in Buckeye State

Hillary Clinton (52 percent) leads Barack Obama (40 percent) among likely Democratic voters in Ohio, according to a poll released today by the Suffolk University Political Research Center. Four percent of voters were undecided, and an additional 4 percent refused to state their choices. 

“Hillary Clinton may be carried to victory on the backs of the Buckeye State's older white males," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "Although Clinton carried women and Obama carried men overall, it appears that Obama's weak support from older men may make the difference. And while the poll's subset of African-American voters is relatively small, Obama beats Clinton by a lopsided margin. The race is down to who can turn out their core base of support on Election Day.”

Differing strengths

Clinton led Obama among women (60 percent-to-31 percent), voters ages 66 and up (57 percent-to-34 percent), northeast Ohio (63 percent-to-31 percent) and among those who had already voted (67 percent-to-13 percent).

Obama’s strength was highest among voters ages 18-35 years (73 percent-to-18 percent), African-American voters (75 percent-to-19 percent), independents/other parties (62 percent-to-21 percent) and the Cincinnati/Dayton area (62 percent-to-32 percent). 

Clinton also carried the Columbus/Southeast area (57 percent-to-32 percent) and the Toledo/Northwest area (50 percent-to-41 percent), while the two candidates ran dead even (46 percent-to-46 percent) in Cuyahoga county.

Despite Clinton's support in Ohio, more Democratic Ohioans believe the electoral deck is stacked against her long term. Thirty-nine percent said they believe Obama will be the next president; 30 percent said Clinton; 14 percent indicated Republican John McCain; and 15 percent were undecided.

Nader influence

Independent candidate Ralph Nader could receive support from up to 13 percent of likely Democratic voters in Ohio in the November General Election. Two percent of likely Democratic voters said they were planning to vote for Nader in November; 11 percent said that if their choice (either Clinton or Obama) didn't win the Democratic nomination, they might vote for Nader; and 78 percent said that they would not vote for Nader under any circumstances. 

“With Ohio decided by a handful of points every four years, Democrats cannot afford to let key voters fall through the cracks,” said Paleologos. 

In other Suffolk University findings, the economy (54 percent) was the most important issue to Ohio Democratic voters, followed by the war in Iraq (21 percent), and health care (15 percent).

On March 4, Suffolk University will release its bellwether tracking in Ohio from Sunday and Monday night field calling. Suffolk University bellwether tracking predicted the Democratic Primary win of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and has correctly predicted outcomes in Florida, Massachusetts, California and Tennessee this presidential election cycle.


The Suffolk University poll was conducted Saturday, March 1, through Sunday, March 2, 2008. The margin of error on the statewide survey of 400 is +/- 4.90 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were likely Democratic voters in the March 4 Ohio Presidential Primary. Frequencies/marginals and 64 pages of cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website on March 4. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.