We believe that about a quarter of voters have already voted in Ohio as we enter the final weekend before Election Day. In this writeup, we’ll explore where we have the final ballots and then a few different turnout scenarios for the Senate.
The generic ballot has wound up right where we started at R+10, at a 52% / 42% lead and 2 points higher than Trump’s 2020 win. Though more under the radar than Governor or Senate, the other races fall more into line with the generic ballot. For Secretary of State, Frank LaRose is up 50% / 35% (+15%) with more undecided Democrats and for AG, Dave Yost is even farther ahead at 53% / 37% (+16%). For Governor, Mike DeWine’s final total reaches even higher with 56% of the vote, 19-points ahead of his opponent. We show Vance six points ahead in the race for Senate, with a plurality (49% / 43%). When we pushed undecideds in a follow up, most still said they were truly undecided, but Vance jumped a little up to a 50% / 44% lead that rounds up to +7%.
The big reason for Vance’s gains has been Republicans coming home, and that is evident when we look at who already voted. Among those voters, which went to Biden by 14 points on the recalled ballot, Tim Ryan is only ahead by 17 points. Among Republicans who have voted early – which were really outnumbered by Democrats but give a sign of what happens when push comes to shove – Trump won 89% / 8% (+81%), and Vance wins them 87% / 10% (+77%). If this trend continues, we might even see the Vance margin increase by virtue of picking up undecideds or soft GOP voters currently supporting Ryan.
So, who are the undecideds in the race? They say they are voting on the generic ballot 32% / 20% (+12%) for Republicans with most undecided so we don’t expect them to break harder in any one direction. The chart below shows the share of each group that is undecided. For example, 25% of Independents aged 18-34 are currently undecided in the Senate race.
If Vance wants to pick up more support, it’s going to come from consolidating middle-aged Republicans who are already planning to vote. In a lower-turnout scenario, or maybe one where the raw vote is closer to 2018’s, we imagine a slightly older and more partisan electorate that would give Vance another point or two to his lead. What Ryan needs is to win over and turn out unreliable younger voters – both Democrats and Independents that lean towards having an unfavorable impression of Biden. The other possible scenario is a post-Dobbs surge where women turn out in much higher numbers than anticipated, like the Kansas primary earlier this year. Our frame accounts for some of that already, hovering in an electorate between 53% and 54% women (so there’s not much more to push it), but Ryan does do better with women at 47% / 45% (+2%) than men where he is down 39% / 54% (-15%). Even a large surge here would not be enough to close this gap, so he’ll have to lean more on younger people in order to pull it off.
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Cygnal’s Ohio Statewide toplines and full analysis deck are below. Also available for download are individual toplines for the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown DMAs.