Troy Balderson and Danny O’Connor are locked in a dead heat with just days to go before Ohio’s special election on August 7. And the election may be less about either candidate, and more about Donald Trump.
The two opponents are vying to fill the congressional seat left vacant by Republican Pat Tiberi. He resigned earlier this year after representing Ohio’s 12th district in Congress for nearly 20 years.
Balderson has seemed to have an edge over O’Connor. The 12th district has been a safe, reliable Republican seat for more than 30 years. A poll conducted in June showed Balderson with an 11-point lead over his Democratic rival. But a more recent Monmouth University poll shows the race has tightened considerably since then. The new poll has Balderson and O’Connor in a virtual tie. You can see the full results here.
Monmouth University: If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was today, would you vote for Troy Balderson the Republican, Danny O’Connor the Democrat, Joe Manchik of the Green Party, or some other candidate? [7/26/18 to 7/31/18]
The Monmouth Poll was conducted July 26-31 over the phone. Pollsters surveyed more than 500 registered voters in the 12th District. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
Among the full voter sample, Balderson received 44 percent of the support. 43 percent of those surveyed said they preferred O’Connor. Green Party candidate Joe Manchik received just 2 percent support while 11 percent of voters said they were still undecided.
It’s worth noting that a huge number of voters admitted to not knowing much about either candidate. Voters were asked whether they had favorable or unfavorable impressions of Balderson and O’Connor. 42 percent responded that they did not know enough about either candidate to have an opinion.
Voters were also asked whether they approved or disapproved of President Trump’s job performance.
Monmouth University: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president? [7/26/18 to 7/31/18]
40 percent of voters surveyed said they strongly disapproved of President Trump. 33 percent strong approved of his job performance. The August 7 special election is now being viewed as a bellwether race, and a strong indicator of how the November midterms could play out.
Another noteworthy question looked into how much of an impact President Trump has on the election. This question was posed: “How important is it for you to cast a vote for Congress that shows your [support of/opposition to] President Trump – very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?” 62 percent admitted it was very important.
Monmouth University: How important is it for you to cast a vote for Congress that shows your [support of/opposition to] President Trump? [7/26/18 to 7/31/18]
|Not Too Important or Not At All Important
Republican Troy Balderson has been the favorite to win the special election. He has served as a state senator since 2011. Balderson has also been endorsed by both President Trump and Ohio governor John Kasich. The president will be in Ohio August 4 to stump for Balderson.
Democrat Danny O’Connor has been seen as the underdog in this race. Voters in the 12th district have been represented by Republicans since 1983. O’Connor was elected to serve as Franklin County Recorder in 2016. He has received endorsements from the Columbus Dispatch, former Governor Ted Strickland, and Congressman Tim Ryan.