President Trump could be the best and, at the same time, the worst thing to happen to the Ohio GOP in 2018.
As far as Ohio voters are concerned, the November election — even though his name is not on the ballot — is all about Donald Trump. Only 19 percent of voters surveyed in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer/Suffolk University poll said their votes would not have “much to do with President Trump and his policies.”
Nearly 28 percent of voters said they “support the direction” in which Trump is leading the nation. Elizabeth Cartwright, a 71-year-old from Alliance, Ohio, told the Enquirer she was a strong Trump supporter in 2016, and hasn’t wavered in 2018.
“I don’t want somebody who is not on his side to be in my government,” said Cartwright. “I don’t want those snowflakes to be against them.”
But 48.8 percent said they’d be using their vote to “change the direction President Trump is leading the nation.”
“I’m totally embarrassed by Trump,” said Ronald Brodzinski in response to a June Enquirer/Suffolk University poll. “He’s a bully. He’s egocentric. He lies continually.”
Jennifer Barton, a committed Democratic voter, plans to stick with her party affiliation in November when she votes in the Senate and gubernatorial elections. She couldn’t do otherwise, Barton told the Enquirer, with a man like Donald Trump in the White House.
How much do voters like Brodzinski and Barton dislike Trump? It goes beyond a polite disagreement with his policies. The Suffolk University/Cincinnati Enquirer poll showed four in 10 Ohio voters are OK with the idea of the U.S. House beginning impeachment proceedings next year.
Suffolk pollster David Paleologos said Ohio voters’ dissatisfaction with Trump could tip the balance of power in the Buckeye State if only because the GOP isn’t offering any candidates who excite the Republican base.
“Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s any red meat for Republican-leaning independents and straight independents to come out and vote,” Paleologos said.
Christine Mulk is an independent voter who wants to send President Trump and the GOP a message by voting Democratic in November.
“I don’t like the negative things he says about people. I don’t like the constant lying or disrespect for women or other racial groups,” Mulk said. “I just feel like he’s this figurehead who’s there to allow the Republicans to push through what they want.”
But it gets even worse for the Ohio GOP in the October Enquirer/Suffolk University poll. The survey showed today Hillary Clinton would take Ohio by 6 points instead of Trump winning by eight as he did two years ago.
The poll also showed Democrats leading by margins of 3 percent to 10 percent in Ohio’s statewide races for U.S. Senate, attorney general, treasurer, auditor general and secretary of state.
Some Ohio Republicans like Rep. David Joyce, as PJM reported, have put as much distance as politically possible between themselves and Trump.
There is one statewide race Republicans stand a chance of winning: Democratic Ohio gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray only leads Republican Mike DeWine by 2.7 points in the latest Real Clear Politics polling average.
The Ohio GOP is throwing everything against the wall it can as it tries to convince independents and even Democrats to turn against Cordray. Most recently, Ohio Republicans have branded Democrat Cordray “Comrade Cordray” in an attempt to link him to the Communist Party.
During an Oct. 13 rally in Ohio, Trump said Cordray was “hurting people and I think he enjoyed it” while the Democrat ran the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
There may be thousands of Ohio residents who would love to see Donald Trump impeached. But the president also has a vast legion of Ohio fans and supporters standing by his side.
The Enquirer/Suffolk University poll showed Republicans who loved Trump in 2016 still like him in 2018. The survey showed 83 percent of GOP voters said Trump had fulfilled his campaign promises and 80 percent of Republicans supported the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
So if there is any good news in this Ohio poll for President Trump and the GOP, it is that Republican support is still active. Paleologos said that is not an aberration, it is a trend seen in other states. Ohio voters like Mary Anne Weber have not given up on President Trump. She voted for Trump in 2016 and planned to do the same this November.
“There’s some things I don’t like about Trump – if he would just know when to keep his mouth shut,” said Weber. “I think his heart’s in the right place, and he’s trying to do the right thing.”
Mark Weaver, a GOP consultant in Ohio, told Real Clear Politics that Republicans need to concentrate in the last weeks of October on making sure Mary Anne Weber and those who think like her vote in November.
Rally the Republicans, Weaver argued, and they will vote.
“Thousands of people stand in line for hours at his rallies,” said Weaver, “many of them get signed up for volunteer activities and email captures and phone numbers taken — and bolster what is already a very large turnout operation.”