Dead Heat in Ohio 12; Power of the President on Display

The final US Congressional special election before the November midterm elections will be held on August 7 in Ohio’s 12th district and it shows a neck and neck race: the Democrat, Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor has 47% of the vote and Republican, State Senator Troy Balderson is at 46%, 7% of very likely voters were undecided. The data was collected August 2 to 4, with +/-5 percentage points. The poll was taken prior to President Trump’s rally in the district on August 4.

Both Congressional candidates are polarizing figures O’Connor has a 44% favorable and 41% unfavorable, while Balderson has a 46% favorable and 45% unfavorable opinion. President Trump is more popular in the district than he is nationwide with a 47% approval and 48% disapproval. Better news for Balderson, is that Pelosi is severely disliked with 56% disapproval and a 22% approval rating.

Independents are breaking 56% to 28% for O’Connor, and the Clinton voter seem more loyal to their party candidates in this election that those who voted for Trump. Clinton voters are breaking for O’Connor 95% to 3%, while Trump voters are breaking for Balderson 89% to 7%.

A gender divide has emerged as well in the race. Males back Balderson 53%-42%, while females break for O’Connor 51%-40%.

Delaware County might turn out to be difference as voters are split 46% to 45% for O’Connor, an estimated 28% of the total vote will come from that county. Both candidates also have strong bases of support O’Connor’s is Franklin County where he leads 58%-33%, which is estimated to account for 32% of the primary vote. Licking County, expected to account for 21% of the total vote, is breaking for Balderson 62%-36%.

The Trump Tax reform law passed in December of 2017 received mixed reviews in the poll. 45% support the tax reform law, 41% are opposed, and 11% are undecided. Inside these numbers finds those in support of the tax reform law break for Republican Balderson 91%-3%, while those opposed support O’Connor 92%-3%. Undecided voters lean to the Democrat O’Connor 61%-17%.

O’Connor voters are slightly more excited and paying slightly more attention to the race than Balderson voters. Among those most excited, O’Connor has a 55%-45% edge. Among those paying more attention O’Connor gets 51% to 46%.of their support.


The OH USC 12th district Emerson College Poll was conducted August 2-4, 2018 under the Supervision of Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of only likely voters, n=431, with a Credibility Interval (similar to margin of error) of +/- 5 percentage points. The data was weighted by party affiliation, age, county and gender based on a turnout out model. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only and an online panel provided by Survey Monkey.

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