COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Today is officially one week out from Election Day; on the ballot are two statewide issues.
The most recent polling by Baldwin Wallace University suggests that both Issue 1 and Issue 2 have nearly 60% of Ohioans on board, but Democratic strategist David Pepper and Republican strategist Matt Dole said they’re not convinced for different reasons.
“I think the polling is largely garbage on the statewide ballot issues this year,” Dole said. “If you read the actual amendment to people or make the same argument that Mike DeWine and Fran, make, that number falls dramatically. So, I think it is going to be closer than what the polls suggest.”
Pepper said he believes disinformation and “scare tactics” will narrow the numbers.
“So, I don’t think anyone should take anything for granted even though polls have been consistent,” Pepper said.
Both Pepper and Dole do agree, though, that the poll did not word the question well.
“I think the methodology is wrong,” Dole said. “I think the way they asked the question is wrong. They asked the question about Issue 1 in the most glowing, flowery terms they could.”
“I thought that poll was too optimistic, I think it’s going to be narrow,” Pepper said. “This is not a runaway victory.”
Pepper said despite thinking the most recent poll is optimistic, “Polls have always shown that Ohio is a pro-choice state. That’s very clear. That’s always been somewhere in the mid to high fifties.”
Across the state, early voter turnout for this election has been high, according to the secretary of state’s website, as of last week, 384,768 Ohioans cast their ballots early. In August, nearly 700,000 Ohioans voted early in total. Usually, it is Democratic voters who make up a majority of early vote ballots.
Dole said he does not think the early voting and absentee numbers are surprising for either side.
“There are still a big number of ballots out and people need to get those back in,” Pepper said. “I am not saying there is a crisis, but now is the time to get those back.”
Plus, we’ve seen millions of dollars poured into campaigns both for and against issue 1, pepper said that’s another reason he thinks the polls may be off.
Pepper said he believes Issue 1 might be close because of the amount of money being spent on ads.
“To the extent there’s not a lot of money being spent against Issue 2, I would think that probably puts it in a better place because there aren’t millions of dollars being spent telling people to ‘vote no,’” Pepper said.
And Dole said he thinks Issue 1 tries to take a bigger leap than Issue 2, since medical marijuana is already legal in the state; Dole said that fact may make Issue 2’s passage clearer.
“I think in politics where you try to move policy incrementally, it’s easier than trying to do it all at once,” Dole said. “I think what you’re seeing is an easier hill to climb for Issue 2 because this is just an incremental step forward rather than an entirely new concept.”
As far as split ballot voting goes – Dole and Pepper both said while there may be some cases, they do not expect too much of it.
“Issue 1 and Issue 2 are sort of complimentary,” Pepper said. “I think to some degree, both are a result of a gerrymandered legislature doing the opposite of what citizens want.”
Dole said Republicans are overwhelmingly voting no on both Issue 1 and Issue 2.
“There are some split ticket voters, probably on both sides you see some pro-choice republicans who are anti-issue 2 and vice versa,” Dole said.
If Issue 1 passes, that is a constitutional amendment and would preempt any standing abortion laws in the state. If Issue 2 passes, lawmakers here at the statehouse have the authority to make modifications to the law.
Absentee ballots must be requested by tonight at 8:30 p.m.