The View from Ohio: Mid-Term Voting Intention and Approval Ratings (16 October 2022)

October 19, 2022
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | Joe Biden | Kamala Harris | Ohio | Swing States | US Elections | US Politics | US Public Figures | Voting Intention

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Ohio, historically the most bellwether of bellwether states, has seen its status as a national electoral battleground wane over recent electoral cycles. Although Barack Obama managed to win the state in both 2008 and 2012, its growing Republican tilt in the decade since—a process accelerated by Donald Trump’s overwhelming popularity among white, working-class voters in the state—has made Ohio an increasingly hard place for Democratic candidates to stay competitive. Republicans hold supermajorities in both houses of the state legislature. Since 2011, Senator Sherrod Brown has been the only Democrat elected to statewide office. In 2020, Joe Biden became the first president to be elected President without carrying the “Buckeye State” since John F. Kennedy in 1960. 

Even so, Ohio will still be a closely watched state this November. Governor Mike DeWine, who led the state’s response to the pandemic and occasionally tangled with President Trump, is running for re-election. Meanwhile, the retirement of Republican Rob Portman has sparked a high-profile race between Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican J. D Vance for the state’s second seat in the United States Senate.  

The latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies in the state finds Republican candidates in a generally strong position as the Mid-Term election campaign enters its final two weeks, although the Senate Race looks likely to be closely fought.

Asked who they would vote for to be their district’s representative in Congress, 50% of Ohioans we polled say they will vote for a Republican candidate, while 39% say they will vote for a candidate from the Democratic Party. 7% say they are undecided.

In the gubernatorial race, Governor DeWine holds a commanding lead over his Democratic challenger, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. When weighted by likelihood to vote, DeWine (53%) leads Whaley (37%) by 16 points. The relatively small number of undecided voters (8%) suggests that DeWine will comfortably be re-elected.

Importantly, Governor De Wine holds a positive net approval rating of +16%. 48% of Ohioan voters approve of the job he has done since becoming Governor, while 32% disapprove.

The closely watched senate race pits ten-term Congressman Tim Ryan against venture capitalist and author of the bestselling Hillbilly Elegy J.D Vance. Hoping for an opportunity to pick-up a Republican-held seat, supporters have poured millions of dollars into Ryan’s campaign, helping him comfortably outraise his Republican opponent.

With two weeks to go, our polling shows Vance with a 4-point lead, 47% to 43%. 9% of voters say they are undecided, including 9% of those who voted for Donald Trump in 2020 and just 3% of those who voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

A crucial factor in all these races, as is often the case with mid-term elections, will be approval of the President. Critically, only 35% of Ohio voters approve of Joe Biden’s performance since he became President. 56% disapprove, giving the former Vice President a net approval rating of -21%. 

Biden’s performance may have dampened enthusiasm among some of his voters. While similar numbers of Trump 2020 and Biden 2020 voters say they are ‘certain’ to vote—53% and 52%, respectively—nearly a quarter of Biden voters at the last election (24%) say they will “probably not” vote, compared to just 6% of Trump voters.

The electoral issues of most concern to Ohioans are the same issues flagged by respondents in our national polling. The economy (62%) is the most commonly selected issue, followed by abortion (47%), healthcare (25%), and immigration (24%).

Abortion is the most-selected mid-term issue for Joe Biden’s 2020 voters (63%), followed by economy (50%), healthcare (31%), and the environment (23%). Trump’s 2020 voters most frequently cite the economy (72%), immigration (37%), and abortion (32%) as issues that will determine how the vote in November. 

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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