CANAL WINCHESTER, Ohio (WCMH) — The Emerson College/NBC4 poll of likely voters in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District reveals an influence from former President Donald Trump that some may consider surprising.

The scientific poll of 445 likely voters from Oct. 14-16 throughout the far-flung district shows residents’ views on the former Republican president may impact whether they pull the lever for Republican Mike Carey or Democrat state Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington).

Carey is the Trump-endorsed candidate, and many in the GOP say that’s the reason he won the most votes in a crowded Republican primary in August. So, the poll included questions related to Trump’s influence.

The former president continues to push what Democrats call ‘The Big Lie,’ falsely claiming Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election. Nearly 6 in 10 poll respondents accept Biden as a legitimate president, but more than 4 in 10 said they don’t accept him.

When asked if Trump should run again in 2024, the yes’s and no’s were close — more than 40% each — and the remaining 11.2% were not sure.

The poll also asked likely voters if Trump’s endorsement of Carey makes them more or less likely to support Carey. 39.1% said it helps their opinion of him, 40.8% said it hurts it and 20.1% said it makes no difference.

The Emerson College/NBC4 poll is representative of OH-15’s party affiliation makeup. It also weights for gender, age, education, race, and region based on 2020 turnout modeling. Polling was conducted via landline phone and text-to-web, and its margin of error is +/- 4.6 percentage points.

For most polls, you can read the margin of error (MoE) like this: If the poll were to be done again 100 times, in 95 of those times the results would be within “X” percentage points of the original.

So let’s say a national poll of a sampling of registered voters, with an MoE of +/- 3, has:

  • Joe Biden at 53%
  • Donald Trump at 47%

  • You can be 95% certain that a hypothetical poll of all registered U.S. voters would yield results between these extremes:

  • Biden 56/Trump 44 (+3 more for Biden, -3 fewer for Trump)
  • Trump 50/Biden 50 (+3 more for Trump, -3 fewer for Biden)
  • Reactions to the Trump effect

    As NBC4 continues to roll out results of this extensive poll, each OH-15 candidate is given the opportunity to respond, whether on camera or with a statement. Carey has so far done neither, but campaign manager Blaine Kelley did offer written comment:

    "Mike Carey is proud to have broad support for his candidacy including the endorsements of President Trump, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9, NFIB, Ohio Farm Bureau, and most importantly, working Ohio families who are struggling with higher prices and lower wages brought on by the failed Biden-Pelosi agenda that our opponent supports."

    Blaine Kelley, campaign manager for Mike Carey

    Russo, appearing on camera, told NBC4 she believes those who still question the legitimacy of the Biden presidency do so because some Republicans continue to push false claims that the election was stolen.

    As for the Trump influence, she said "it speaks to the debate within the Republican Party" about whether Trump "is truly the future of that party."

    "Let's not forget that two thirds of Republican voters in that primary voted against Mike Carey, my opponent," Russo said. "So, I think it will remain to be seen again in how much the Trump endorsement influences turnout when he is not on the ballot, and certainly influences the candidates that he supports, which there's been questions about that even in other states."

    NBC News political director Chuck Todd NBC4 this week that Republican candidates — like those in Ohio's U.S. Senate race — are all seeking the Trump endorsement ahead of the spring primary.

    "How close can you get to Trump without alienating what's left of what some might call the chamber of commerce or country club wing of the Republican Party?" he said, likening such moves to walking a tightrope.

    "This wing of the party has been very uncomfortable with Trump. You could argue this is the John Kasich, Rob Portman wing of the party," Todd continued. "I think the fact that this wing of the party has descended and not ascended is why Portman has retired. I think if this were a different political make up of the Republican electorate in Ohio, we wouldn't have an open Senate seat."