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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Latest Quinnipiac Poll Shows Ohio Presidential Race In Virtual Tie

Joe Biden campaigned in Columbus before Ohio's pandemic shutdowns. Donald Trump frequently campaigned in Ohio in 2016, including at John Glenn Interntional Airport.
Dan Konik/Andy Chow
Joe Biden campaigned in Columbus before Ohio's pandemic shutdowns. Donald Trump frequently campaigned in Ohio in 2016, including at John Glenn Interntional Airport.

A new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters shows Ohio may be a swing state once again. The race between President Trump and likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden is a virtual dead heat with a little over four months to go before the November election.

Biden is at 46%. Trump – who won Ohio by eight points in 2016 – is at 45%.

“If you held an election tonight, we’d be up all night waiting for the numbers, and it may last for days. It’s that close," said Quinnipiac polling analyst Tim Malloy.

Malloy said more than 90% of voters from each party choose their respective candidate. Independents favor Trump by four points.

Trump has a 13-point lead with voters 50-64 years old, but Biden has a 12-point advantage with the very active bloc of voters over 65.  

Biden has an overwhelming lead with black voters and a 16-point lead with women. Trump has an 8-point lead with white voters and a 16-point advantage with men.

Biden leads college educated white voters by 21 points, and Trump leads non-college educated whites by the same margin.

The poll also shows Biden has an unfavorable rating with 45% of voters, but Trump’s is at 53%.

But there’s good news in the poll for Trump’s fellow Republican, Gov. Mike DeWine.

Malloy said the poll showed three quarters of Ohio voters polled approve of DeWine’s performance on the job, while only 44% like the way Trump is doing his job.

“A lot of governors are popular in their states now," said Malloy. "The federal government is not the least bit popular in the way they’ve handled the coronavirus. But your governor may be the most popular governor in America. But if you look at the Trump numbers on that, they’re like half of what he gets.”

60% said Dewine’s lifting of coronavirus restrictions was “about right” – the rest were evenly split over whether it was too soon or not soon enough. That's in contrast to vocal critics who wanted Ohio open more quickly, some of whom have filed lawsuits on the reopenings of businesses closed down as "non-essential", gyms and fitness centers, amusement parks and now dance studios. Some of them came to the Statehouse to protest the continuation of shutdown orders.

The poll also measured reactions to current issues on race and police. Malloy said just over half of voters support banning the Confederate flag in public places, but almost the same number oppose removing Confederate statues.

“The flag is one thing – statues are another. And we’ve seen this kind of number in every state we’ve done," Malloy said. "People in America are more willing to get rid of the Confederate flag than they are of a statue in a square.”

More than 80% in the poll approve of their local police, and well more than half oppose cutting funding for police and shifting it to social services.  

But there was a sharp breakdown when voters were asked whether being a victim of police violence is something they personally worry about.  82% said “no”. But the 18% that said yes included 60% of black voters, and just 9% of white voters.


Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.