The Rundown

New poll: Gov. DeWine holds strong lead, Rep. Tim Ryan a narrow one

By: - September 16, 2022 4:50 am

NEW ALBANY, OH — SEPTEMBER 09: Governor Mike DeWine heads to the podium to speak at a groundbreaking ceremony for Intel’s new semiconductor manufacturing site, September 9, 2022, in Licking County, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal / Republish photo only with original story)

A new poll paints a familiar portrait of Ohio’s two major statewide races. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine holds a commanding lead in his reelection bid, while Democrat U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan has a slight edge in the race for U.S. Senate.

Columbus-based lobbying firm The Montrose Group commissioned the survey of statewide races and campaign issues. Another Columbus firm, Fallon Research and Communications, contacted 600 registered voters over six days last week. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4%.

The races

In the U.S. Senate race, Ryan leads Republican J.D. Vance 46% to 43%. That falls within the poll’s margin of error and with 11% of respondents undecided, the contest is still very much up for grabs.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s reelection chances look substantially better according to the poll. A 49% share of respondents favor DeWine to 36.5% supporting Democrat Nan Whaley. The former Dayton mayor is trailing the governor in every major media market, the pollsters note — even her home city of Dayton.

Pollsters point to DeWine’s long tenure in office, and his ability to take credit for Intel’s investment in Licking County. Still, even in the governor’s race, there are enough undecided voters to swing the election to either candidate.

The issues

Pollsters said the economy was the biggest concern on respondents’ minds.  But how they actually feel about it seems muddled.

About a third ranked “cost of living” as their top issue, and separately, almost half reported feeling their household income is failing to keep up with inflation.  Nevertheless, “57% of the voters surveyed were satisfied with the quality of life in Ohio,” pollsters report in the press release. Majorities also said cities should be allowed to levy income taxes, and their current income taxes are “pretty fair.”

After this summer’s Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, abortion ranked as the second most prevalent top issue among respondents. Crime and violence rounded out the top three.

Separately, pollsters asked about respondents’ positions on abortion policy. Only 18% of them said they oppose allowing abortions under any circumstances, in line with candidates like U.S. Senate nominee J.D. Vance. Nearly double that share, 35% said they support allowing abortion under any circumstance. The 42% plurality though, said they favor allowing abortion with “some exceptions.”



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Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He got his start in Tallahassee, covering issues like redistricting, same sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he has covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing have been featured numerous times on NPR.