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Government & Politics

Early Voters Largely Reflect the Splits Showing Up In Ohio Polls

Ohio voting sticker

A new poll of Ohio voters reveals a lot of things about their attitudes toward the presidential candidates. A lot of the same sentiments were reflected among the voters who were among the first to show up for early voting this morning. 

The Baldwin Wallace poll included the horse-race question: Hillary Clinton up by 9 points over Donald Trump if the election were held today. And for some, it was: early voting began at 8 a.m.

But the Baldwin Wallace poll also went beyond the question of winners to the characteristics of the candidates. We explored some of those questions with early voters at the Stark and Summit County boards of elections.

First – the poll shows voters in both the Clinton and Trump camps are far more likely to be voting to stop the other candidate than because they support their own. More Trump folks say they want to stop Clinton than vice versa – but it’s a clear trend for both.

And for Trump voter Richard Kline of Coventry, that sure seems to be the case.

“Remember what she said about Benghazi, ‘What does it matter?’ What does it matter, four people getting killed?! I don’t like that; that’s very upsetting. She lies about everything she does anyhow. I don’t like her at all.”

What about Trump?
“I just don’t like Trump, he really rubs me the wrong way.”

That’s Christina Young of Louisville, who says her antipathy towards Trump goes back to his days on the TV show, “The Apprentice,” but is also based in the realities of today.

“He has no political skills, no personality in dealing with foreign diplomats. He’ll get us into another war by offending someone.”

The Baldwin Wallace poll also asks voters which candidate better reflects certain characteristics such as whether they’re likeable, support vets and could get things done in Washington.

Clinton topped Trump in seven of the categories, Trump led in three and two were a draw.

A quetion of temperament
Where Trump did worst: Whether he’s a role model for children, whether he’s likeable and whether he has the right temperament for president.

All of which sums up the concerns for Larry Toles, an Air Force veteran from Canton.

“You’ve got to have the commander-in has got to be pretty settled. And he’s all over the place. He’s too temperamental. He goes this way, he goes that way, he threatens a lot. ... That’s unsettling.

Toles is also troubled by Trump’s comments on women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities.

Changing Washington
The poll shows Trump scored highest on the question of changing the way Washington does business.
And that’s the all-important question for Lucia Zappatelli, who describes herself as a Trump-a-crat (life-long Democrat for Trump) and who, after voting for Trump,  pulled Trump signs from her trunk and planted them around the perimeter of the Stark County Board of Elections.

“No. 1, he tells it like it is and I’m sick and tired of the politicians just saying what they’re going to do and never, you know:  Actions speak louder than your words. Taking care of our borders, taking care of our military.” 

Zappatelli, like the Baldwin Wallace poll, also gives Trump higher marks for knowing what it would take to create jobs and combat terrorism.

But the poll gives Clinton a distinct advantage on foreign policy, temperament and readiness to lead. And that sums up what Dennis Carroll of Canal Fulton sees in her.

“She’s been in politics in New York, plus first lady for eight years. So she know s how the government runs. Trump’s had no experience at all running anything other than a shlock business. 

Clinton also did better than Trump on things like fighting for the middle class and supporting vets.

Lots of people on both sides hate NAFTA
One question where Clinton and Trump were virtually tied was on negotiating fair trade policies. And trade was a big issue for many of the early voters we spoke with, including Michael Moussiaux of Akron, who said he couldn’t find a job after the economic crash of 2008 and says reworking trade deals is crucial for America.

“NAFTA rescinded or done over, and all the trade disuse redone, because all our jobs are going overseas. There’s nothing here for us anymore.”

One group that shows up in the Baldwin Wallace poll that we did not find reflected among our earliest of early voters: Those who are considering third parties. The poll says nearly 10 percent of Ohio voters would vote for Libertarian Gary Johnson if the election were held today, and nearly 3 percent would opt for the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

Though our voter interviews didn’t reflect that, they did reveal some trepidation. Phyllis Stewart of Hartville summed it up.

“It’s difficult because they both have so many negative things about them. So you just have to pick what you think will be the strongest one  ... and then pray.”

Early voting continues through Nov. 7, the day before Election Day.