One week before Election Day, the governor’s race is still close between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Rich Cordray, support for State Issue 1 is fading and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown appears to be cruising to a big victory, according to a new poll released Tuesday.
Baldwin Wallace University Community Research Institute’s latest survey of likely voters shows DeWine at 39.4 percent and Cordray at 38.8 percent, Libertarian Travis Irvine at 4.1 percent and Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton at 1.9 percent. Nearly 16 percent of Ohio voters say they have yet to decide who they’ll back for governor.
The poll also found Brown has a 20-point lead over Republican challenger Jim Renacci in the Senate race and 17 percent are undecided. Almost 40 percent of voters said they haven’t heard enough about Renacci, a Congressman from Wadsworth.
“The outcome of the gubernatorial race will hinge on turnout and how late deciders break. If history is any guide, Cordray might be able to ride Brown’s coattails to the finish line,” said Lauren Copeland, a political scientist and associate director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace.
DeWine is slated to hold a get out the vote rally with Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Columbus on Friday.
President Donald Trump is campaigning for Republicans across the country this week, though no stops in Ohio have been announced. Trump’s approval rating in Ohio is 44.2 percent while 49.7 percent disapprove, according to the poll.
State Issue 1: pollsters found support for the measure slipping compared with three weeks ago when it led by 17 points. The updated data show 43 percent of voters support it, 39.8 percent oppose it and 17.2 percent are undecided about the proposed constitutional amendment.
State Issue 1 would convert low-level drug possession and drug use felonies into misdemeanors with no jail time for the first two offenses; allow certain inmates to get 25 percent of their prison time reduced if they take rehabilitative programs; and plow savings into drug treatment programs. It is opposed by prosecutors and judges, who say it would gut drug courts and lessen penalties for dealers.
In the down ticket statewide races, the poll found:
Secretary of State: Democrat Kathleen Clyde, 39.8 percent; Republican Frank LaRose 33.7 percent; Libertarian Dustin Hanna, 4.7 percent.
Auditor: Democrat Zack Space, 40.2 percent; Republican Keith Faber, 32 percent; Libertarian Robert C. Coogan, 5 percent.
Attorney General: Democrat Steve Dettelbach, 40.2 percent; Republican Dave Yost, 38.9 percent.
Treasurer: Democrat Rob Richardson, 38.8 percent; Republican Robert Sprague, 36 percent.
When asked if voting in the midterm congressional elections is more important to them this year, 73.7 percent of Democrats said yes while 58.7 percent of Republicans said yes.
The poll also found that Ohio voters rank health care, the economy, taxes, education and gun policy as the top issues.
The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.8 percent.
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