COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A poll suggests that many Ohio voters don’t know the Republican candidates vying for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s seat in 2024.
The Ohio Pulse Poll from Baldwin Wallace University surveyed 850 registered voters about their opinions on various issues, including statewide constitutional Issues 1 and 2. As the 2024 primary elections inch closer, it also asked voters about the three Republican candidates hoping to take on Brown, a Democrat, next November.
The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points. Unlike a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted in July, the Ohio Pulse Poll did not ask voters who they would vote for but rather gauged general opinions about favorability.
Brown, who has held his seat since 2007, is being challenged by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, state Sen. Matt Dolan and businessman Bernie Moreno. Brown is considered the most favorable compared to both his challengers and Republican colleague Sen. J.D. Vance. But with 44.2% finding him at least somewhat favorable and about 38% finding him unfavorable, Brown’s favorability is within the margin of error.
Brown is also the most well-known when compared with Vance and the three Republican candidates, with 17.9% of those polled saying they were unfamiliar with the senator. Nearly 24% of voters said they didn’t know who Vance was – including more than a third of people aged 18-49.
LaRose, who has come out as a strong, vocal opponent of both the abortion amendment and the initiative to legalize recreational cannabis, was the most well-known and well-liked among a slate of relatively unknown candidates. Almost 43% of voters said they didn’t know who the state’s top election official was. Half of the people aged 18-49 were unfamiliar with LaRose.
LaRose had the most support compared to Moreno and Dolan, with 30% of voters finding him favorable – almost double Moreno’s 15.7% and still ahead of Dolan’s 20.8% when accounting for the margin of error. LaRose also had the highest rate of unfavorability, although at 26.6% compared to both Dolan and Moreno at 23%, the difference isn’t significant.
As expected, registered Democrats and self-identified liberal voters strongly disapproved of all the Republican candidates, while heavily supporting Brown. Moderates found both Brown and LaRose more favorable than not, while being more disapproving of Moreno and Dolan.
Although independent voters were overall less familiar with the candidates, they found Brown equally favorable as unfavorable, as they did LaRose and Dolan. The third of polled Independent voters who knew Moreno found him more unfavorable than not.