OHIO — Ohioans have a less-than-positive outlook about the direction the state is headed, but that view is growing dimmer as November elections draw near, our latest Spectrum News/Siena College Research Institute Poll shows. Residents’ collective opinion of the direction of the nation shows more pessimism.
These results were revealed when two Spectrum News/Siena College Research Institute polls, conducted in September and October, shined a light on Ohioans’ views, with each poll asking more than 640 likely voters to weigh in on issues and candidates they’ll vote on in November.
Voters’ somewhat more positive outlook on the state versus the nation is not surprising, said Siena College Research Institute Director Donald Levy, Ph.D.
“It reflects on state government. It reflects on whether voters feel like close to home are we at least making some progress solving our problems? There is a little bit of a state pride component, probably, that feeds into that as well,” he said.
Even so, less than half those polled are happy about Ohio’s future, with a total of 45% saying the state is headed in the right direction in September, increasing slightly to 47% in October.
Those saying wrong direction increased one point in October, from 35% to 36%, while voters with no opinion decreased from 20% to 17%.
The majority of Ohioans responding positively in September were Republicans at 64%, followed by independents at 43%. Those totals dropped in October to 61% for Republicans but independents saw a 6-point increase with 49% happy about the state’s future, the most recent poll shows.
More than a quarter of Democrats at 27% were pleased about the state’s direction, increasing to 30% in the October poll.
The numbers representing Democrats unhappy about Ohio’s direction also increased from 50% to 54%, while Republicans in agreement dropped 2 points to 24%, followed by independents who increased to 32%. Independents' positive responses increased from 43% in September to 49% in the later poll.
A dramatic change came from Black voters unhappy about the direction of Ohio. Their numbers more than doubled, jumping from 25% in September to 53% in October. White voters’ negativity dropped from 36% to 33%.
A solid majority of voters in September indicating a positive view of Ohio’s direction were men at 55%, with women trailing at only 36%. In October, men’s positive responses increased to 59%, while women with a positive outlook rose a single point to 37%.
The youngest voters polled in September, 18 to 34, were the most positive about the state’s future at 52%, while in October young voters with a positive outlook declined significantly to 40%. Voters 65 and older saw a large increase in positivity from 47% in September to 55% in October.
Voters in the highest income bracket making $100,000 or more had the most positive response of the age groups in September at 52%, but dropped significantly in October to 44%.
Positive responses from Ohioans making less than $50,000 rose slightly from 39% to 43% from September to October, while voters earning more than $100,000 also rose, from 52% to 56%.
Attitudes were bleaker for the direction of the U.S. when compared with the state, which isn’t out of line in terms of current events, Levy said.
In addition to worries about rising prices for everyday needs, many Americans are likely concerned about the Jan. 6 hearings for some, what the future could hold for former President Donald Trump, he said.
“The national news right now is, you know, that's a tough cup of tea,” he said.
A large majority in both polls, at 68%, indicated the nation is on the wrong track. Only 7% in September and 9% in October had no opinion.
Fewer Ohioans indicated a positive view of the direction of the nation in October than those polled in September, dropping from 25% to 23% the poll shows.
Republicans who said the nation was on the wrong track also dropped from 93% in September to 90% on October. Democrats who indicated the county is going the wrong direction rose 3 points from 37% in September to 40% in October.
“I think that's a reflection of some Democratic frustration that they're not getting more done,” Levy said. “We've seen numbers similar to that in state after state.”
Fewer than half the Democrats in both polls said the country is on the right track with 47% in September dropping to 45% in October. Only 7% of Republicans in both polls said the nation is headed in the right direction.
Attitudes for both male and female voters with a positive view of the nation shifted between September to October, with men’s positivity dropping from 27% to 20% and woman increasing from 24% to 27%.
The attitude of young voters about the nation’s direction also saw a dramatic drop from 44% in the earlier poll to 23% in October, latest polling numbers show.
The increase in negative views from the youngest demographics could reflect attitudes about the reversal of Roe V. Wade and the heartbeat bill, which makes abortion illegal after a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, usually at five or six weeks into a pregnancy.
In Spectrum News/Siena College September polling, voters were asked to share their views on both measures.
In the poll, the majority of Ohioans, 60%, indicated they oppose the overturn of Roe v. Wade and 55% oppose the “heartbeat bill.”
The strongest opposition came from younger Ohioans, with ages 18 to 34 coming in at 68% and ages 35 to 49 at 69% against the measures.