COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — With 7 weeks until Election Day, Ohio voters are weighing in on important races and issues that will impact not just the Buckeye state but the entire country.
In a September NBC4/Emerson College/The Hill poll, Ohio voters are throwing their support behind Republican candidate JD Vance, who leads his opponent, Tim Ryan, 44% to 40% in the race for US Senate. 13% of voters are still undecided, with 3% planning to vote for someone else.
“Independent voters favor JD Vance by a two-point margin, 51% of which name the economy as their most important issue. Additionally, a stark gender divide exists on the Senate ballot, reflective of other Senate polling this cycle. Men break for Vance by 19 points, whereas women break for Ryan by eight points,” said Spencer Kimball, Executive Director of Emerson College Polling.
The poll, conducted over email and text messages linking to an online survey between Sept. 12 to 13, had a 3% margin of error. Exactly 1,000 Ohio respondents took part in answering questions.
When it comes to the race for Ohio governor, 50% of voters support incumbent Republican Mike DeWine, with 33% backing Democratic candidate Nan Whaley. 12% of voters remain undecided in the gubernatorial race, and the remaining 5% plan to support someone else.
“Unlike the Republican candidate for the Senate election, Mike DeWine is not only winning the support of men two-to-one with 54% of their vote, but more importantly, he also leads Nan Whaley amongst women, 47% to 38%. Without the support of Ohio women voters, Whaley’s success is unlikely,” explained Kimball.
One issue most voters polled agreed on: 80% said it’s important for candidates running for office to participate in a debate prior to the November election.
“The content and the character that comes out in those settings really give me a lot of insight,” said Larry Hanna, a voter in Delaware.
Whaley has committed to debating in October, while DeWine has not. NBC4’s Natalie Fahmy asked DeWine why he is hesitant to debate.
“I’m out every single day talking with the people of Ohio,” said DeWine. “There’s been no governor that’s had more press conferences than I have, answered more questions asked by the news media.”
Some voters told Fahmy a debate can move the needle for them, while other say they just want to better understand candidate platforms.
“[DeWine’s] record speaks for him, so he doesn’t need to, but J.D. Vance should debate,” said Carmen Vanscoi, an Ohio voter.
“If you hear something that you think is important, then it could change my mind,” said another Ohio voter, Pat Ross. “But probably not, I’ve done a lot of studying before.”
On the race for the White House, 50% of Ohioans said they support former President Donald Trump, with 40% backing President Joe Biden in a hypothetical 2024 matchup. Currently, 35% of Ohio voters disapprove of the job of President Biden.
As for the top issues at the forefront for Ohio voters? The economy leads the list, with abortion access and healthcare rounding out what Ohioans are focused on.
Voters head to the polls on November 8 to cast their ballot.