Ohio Poll: Heading for Primary Day

By Jim Ellis

state-of-ohio-mapMay 7, 2018 — Tomorrow’s primary featuring voting in Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia is now only a day away; Berea, Ohio’s Baldwin Wallace University just released a new survey of the Buckeye State electorate.

Though the poll possesses significant flaws, the primary results for both parties seem consistent with other published data, even though such publicly released information is sparse.

The Baldwin Wallace poll (April 24-May 2; 811 registered Ohio voters — 333 likely Ohio Democratic primary voters, 323 likely Ohio Republican primary voters) is unusual in several ways.

First, the nine-day polling sample is, on average, three times too long and thus negatively affects overall reliability.

Second, and more damaging, is the huge over-sampling of female voters in the respondent sample. Some 59 percent of those polled are female leading women to dominate every polling segment. For example, on the question of political ideology, more women then men say they are very liberal (60.3 percent), liberal (60.0 percent), moderate (57.3 percent), conservative (53.6 percent), and very conservative (52.8 percent), thus yielding a female majority in every category. Since women traditionally poll more liberal than men, this poll skews definitively to the left.

Another unusual aspect associated with the Baldwin Wallace research is the administrators not testing 2018 general election pairings even though they move forward to begin examining the 2020 Ohio presidential campaign.

All of that being taken into account, the governor’s race conclusions still track consistently with other known data. For the Democrats, former attorney general and federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray posts a 31-15 percent advantage over ex-US congressman and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Two other candidates, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Mahoning Valley) and retired state Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, fail to even reach double-digit support.

On the Republican side, in a race that dramatically changed when attorney general and former US Sen. Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted decided back in November to run as a statewide ticket, a clear leader is projected. According to the data, DeWine tops Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, 52-23 percent.

Therefore, this BWU poll, as have others, suggests that the 2018 Ohio governor’s race will feature a re-match of the 2010 attorney general’s campaign, a contest where DeWine unseated then-incumbent AG Cordray, 47.5 – 46.3 percent. But, the pollsters did not ask the general election ballot question, so we don’t have a good idea as to where this polling sample would place the two candidates as the campaign officially transitions into the general election.

The US Senate results again project a huge undecided factor. Since Sen. Sherrod Brown is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, only Republicans were tested.

In the GOP primary, US Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) posts a 24-10 percent advantage over Cleveland investment banker Mike Gibbons with more than 55 percent of the Republican respondents saying that they are still undecided. This, too, tracks with the other available research data.

The results suggest that Rep. Renacci remains the favorite to win the nomination tomorrow. Yet, with such an undefined electorate so close to being forced to make a decision, the polling is only providing a small and potentially unreliable clue as to what may actually happen.

But all of the nomination campaigns appear close as the May 8 primary contests loom upon us.

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