COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Most Ohioans would rather see Florida’s governor in the Oval Office than President Joe Biden, a poll from NBC4, Emerson College and The Hill suggests.
In a hypothetical matchup between Biden and Gov. Ron DeSantis, most respondents, or 49.1%, said they would vote for DeSantis, a Republican, according to the poll that surveyed nearly 1,000 likely Ohio voters from Oct. 6 to 7.
The same held true for former President Donald Trump, who earned 47.6% of Ohioans’ hypothetical vote compared with his successor’s 39.8% – a grim picture for Biden as he considers whether to launch a reelection campaign for 2024.
“The voters are pretty clear they’re not very happy about either one, Biden or Trump, each for different reasons,” said Republican strategist Terry Casey, a former chairman of the Franklin County Board of Elections. “And to kind of pick up on even [Democrat] Tim Ryan, a Senate candidate, saying, ‘It’s time to shift gears and move on to new leadership.’”
A slight plurality of the poll's respondents, or 39.1%, identify as Republicans, followed by 33.8% as Democrats and 27.1% as Independents.
Biden’s 37.3% approval rating, as determined by the Emerson College poll, is a testament to the holes burning in Americans’ pockets as food costs, utility bills and mortgage interest rates continue to be “soaring high,” Casey said.
Although Innovation Ohio President Desiree Tims said voters are “interested in having a younger, hipper president,” the leader of the Columbus-based progressive policy nonprofit said Biden’s status as an 82-year-old politician doesn’t negate the good he offers.
“Even today the White House announced an increase in Social Security checks, so grandpa and grandma are gonna get an increase of $140 more each month – that’s a bill or two,” Tims said, citing the administration's Thursday announcement.
She touted some of Biden’s accomplishments in Ohio, like Intel’s $20 billion investment to build two semiconductor chip fabrication plants in New Albany – poised to bring at least 10,000 jobs – which was made possible through the president’s signature on the CHIPS Act.
Following Intel’s lead is Honda. The Japanese car manufacturer plans to invest $4 billion into three existing battery plants in Ohio, which Biden called “another win for Ohio” and further proof that “it’s time to bury the label ‘Rust Belt.’”
“When people start going back to work and start getting these jobs, like jobs at Intel paying $135,000 on average [...] they are going to see the benefits and the value of voting for a Democrat, voting for Joe Biden,” Tims said.
With voters’ No. 1 concern being economic issues, Casey said Biden’s role in securing Ohio as Intel’s future home isn’t enough to make a dent in his sagging approval rating. And, in classic political fashion, Casey said Biden “got on the [Intel] train after it had already left the station.”
“DeWine was in the driver’s seat on that, and this bill [the CHIPS Act] didn’t get passed until a month ago, and Biden came in and tried to grab credit,” Casey said. “In reality you can try and attract attention, but I'm not sure it connects as well.”
Tims took a dig at Biden’s hypothetical contenders in the Emerson College poll, pointing to DeSantis’ “egregious” decision to fly migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts without their knowledge, a move she called a “serious human rights flag."
Whether it be Trump's alleged role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol or his ongoing dispute with the FBI over classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago home, Tims said the former president's rap sheet should be a clear sign to Ohioans that he's unfit for office.
“These two Republican candidates are not offering solutions right now,” she said. “It appears as if they’re offering very extreme ideas and ideals, and I don't think that will go over well with the American people.”
Regardless of voters’ perceptions of the 2024 presidential election, Casey cautioned Ohioans to take the poll results with a grain of salt. Asking voters about an election two years away, he said, is like asking his 10- and 8-year-old grandsons, "What do you want to do when you’re 28?”
“It’s so far off with so many unknowns,” he said, adding that it remains unknown whether Biden or Trump will toss their hats into the ring.
But the main takeaway, Casey said, is among Ohioans, “there's a hunger for new blood” in political leadership.