BEREA, Ohio — Baldwin Wallace University, in Berea, Ohio, is leading a research polling initiative to survey 2020 voter sentiment ahead of the Iowa caucuses. The first of four polls was conducted this month. 

  • BW has teamed up with two other area universities to conduct the survey, billed as the "Great Lakes Polls"
  • It polls voters from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin
  • Results show many voters seem to be undecided

The poll surveyed four key Midwest states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — all four of which voted for President Barack Obama in 2012 and President Donald Trump in 2016.

“This first poll was designed to gauge the pulse of the electorate before the Iowa caucus because we know that, depending on the outcome of the Iowa caucus and then the New Hampshire primary, the field of Democratic candidates is going to get a lot smaller,” said Dr. Lauren Copeland, associate director of the Community Research Institute. 

The survey data shows many voters are undecided.

“It seems like they're waiting to see whether the nominee is going to be too far to the left for them, perhaps, or too moderate for them, perhaps,” said Copeland. 

Results show Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters prefer Vice President Joe Biden for the nomination, with the exception of Wisconsin voters, who prefer Senator Bernie Sanders.

In all four states, Mike Bloomberg polled fourth.

“I’m surprised to see Bloomberg’s name ticking up and it makes me wonder if maybe he could be like a compromise candidate, if people don't want Biden to be the nominee,” said Copeland. 

The data shows that voters have favorable attitudes as to how President Trump is handling the economy. However, opinions are mixed on his stance on immigration and healthcare.

“This suggests that if the economy goes south, then some people who are leaning towards Trump might move towards the Democratic candidate, of course, depending on who he or she is,” said Copeland.

The next survey is expected in late spring, with two more in the fall.