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  Gap Tightens between McCain and Obama in Ohio, 48 to 46 Percent, In The Ohio Newspaper Poll

Second of Three Ohio Newspaper Polls for the Upcoming 2008 Presidential Election

DAYTON, Ohio (October 11, 2008)—With 25 days remaining until Election Day, the economic crisis is on the minds of many Ohioans and the presidential race is in a dead heat in Ohio—McCain with 48 percent to Obama’s 46 percent, according to the second of three in-depth Ohio Newspaper Polls during this election season.

Comparing the first Ohio Newspaper Poll released in mid-September to these latest figures, the new statistics illustrate how Obama is closing the gap between himself and McCain. However, 16 percent of Ohioans still remain undecided or say they “might change” their minds before Election Day, November 4. The sampling error for this poll is plus or minus 3 percent.

In light of the recent economic crisis, the majority of Ohioans, 56 percent, said they oppose the $700 billion bailout plan. And when asked which presidential candidate will do the best job of improving our economy, 47 percent favored Obama compare to 44 percent for McCain.

Ohio likely voters were also asked how government could best stimulate the American economy. These Ohio voters said: 

“As Americans are watching the saga unfold on Wall Street, Ohioans are seeing the effects on their investments and in their wallets,”  said Kevin Riley, Editor-in-Chief, Cox Ohio Publishing; editor of the Dayton Daily News and one of the organizers of the statewide effort by the eight Ohio daily newspapers. “It is essential for these candidates to articulate to Ohioans how they plan to make a positive impact to turn around our economy.”

The Ohio Newspaper Poll also asked Ohio likely voters how worried they are about having a secure retirement; 66 percent of the respondents said they are worried about their retirement.

When taking a look at past and future generations, 62 percent of 18 to 29 year olds say their parents’ generation was better off than the current generation of working adults. When all of the age groups were asked if today’s children will be better or worse off, the majority, 54 percent, said today’s children will be worse off than the current generation of working adults.

“Because Ohio is seen as a bellwether state, Ohio reflects how engaged voters are to the issues during this election,” said Eric Rademacher, Interim Co-Director for the University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research. “From The Ohio Newspaper Poll we know the economy and the current financial crisis are key issues that resonate with many Ohioans—as with Americans.”

Ohio likely voters were also asked about their views on the Social Security system and free trade agreements like NAFTA. Again, the majority of voters tended to take a negative view. Nearly 65 percent said our Social Security system has ‘major problems,’ and 55 percent said free trade agreements hurt Ohio’s economy.

These Ohio Newspaper Poll findings were conducted with a random sample of 876 likely Ohio voters from October 4 to 8.

About The Ohio Newspaper Poll

Eight Ohio daily newspapers have joined with the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research to release “The Ohio Newspaper Poll,” a special initiative to provide unprecedented coverage of the most comprehensive, timely, and in-depth Ohio election polling results. This release marks the second of three total poll releases. The third edition of The Ohio Newspaper Poll will be released October 25, 2008.

The University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research conducts the surveys focusing on the key issues that are on the minds of Ohio’s likely voters this November. These 2,400 Ohio interviews will provide comprehensive insights on the following issues:  the economy, health care, the environment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and homeland security, as well as responses to the presidential candidates’ stances on the issues.






Kevin Riley

Eric Rademacher, PhD

Chuck Vella


University of Cincinnati

Edward Howard

Cox Ohio Publishing

Institute for Policy Research






(Please direct all inquiries about survey methodology to Eric Rademacher.)



THE OHIO NEWSPAPER POLL: “Top Line” Summary of Results:

Overall: The presidential race is now a statistical dead-heat. The roller-coaster ride continues as the race moves toward Barack Obama. The results of this Poll also point to the stark differences in economic perceptions and experiences that still permeate partisan life in Ohio –take a close look at the Democrat/Republican responses to these questions.

We have asked a question in each Ohio Newspaper Poll whether a voter will “definitely vote” or not. In the first Ohio Newspaper Poll, Democrats and Republicans were tied on this question. In the second Ohio Newspaper Poll, Republicans report they are “definitely voting” slightly more frequently than do Democrats (48%-45%).

Ohio’s 20 electoral votes are clearly within reach of either campaign. We are entering the period where the quality of the Ohio ground game should begin to show – as it did for Clinton in ’92and ’96, and Bush in ’00 and ’04.

Presidential Race: John McCain receives 48 percent and Barack Obama receives 46 percent, among Ohio likely voters. The potential for volatility (3 percent undecided, 13 percent “might change mind”) remains, but has lessened as we move closer to Election Day. Nonetheless, these results underscore that this is a race either campaign can win.

Economic Conditions: Obama runs slightly ahead (47%-44%) on “improving economic conditions.” Voters most frequently see the president as having only “some” influence (52%) on the day-to-day economic conditions of Americans.

The Bailout: The bailout is not popular among likely voters – 39 percent approve.

Stimulating the Economy: Likely voters overall are far more likely to point to lower/middle class family tax cuts (31%) than other potential actions to stimulate the economy. However, notice the partisan splits here.

Standard of Living: Just 17 percent of voters say their standard of living is “better” than four years ago. However, 45 percent say their standard of living is “about the same.” The partisan responses to this question speak to the differences in economic “experiences” mentioned above.

Concern About Personal Economics: About 2 of 10 Ohio likely voters are worried (either “very worried” or “somewhat worried”) about either losing their job (22%) or losing their home (18%). However, 66 percent of Ohio likely voters are worried about having a secure retirement.

“The American Dream”: Overall, 49 percent of Ohio likely voters say their parent’s generation was “better off” economically than the current generation.

Overall, 54 percent say the next generation will be “worse off” economically than the current generation. However, be sure to note the differences in responses by age.

NAFTA et al.: Fifty-five percent of likely voters say free trade agreements, including NAFTA, have been bad for Ohio’s economy.

Social Security: Voters most frequently say Social Security has major problems (63%); just 17 percent say it has either minor problems or no problems.

Fifty-five percent oppose a proposal that will allow workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes in the stock market or in bonds.