Ohioans Split on Top Dems But Back Impeachment, Poll Shows

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden greets supporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 8, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(CN) – Ohio voters are torn between former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a poll released Thursday, while nearly half of them support impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

The Emerson College poll of voters in the key battleground state shows a tight, competitive race between Biden at 29%, Sanders at 27%, and Warren at 21%, with none of the lower-polling candidates clearing 7% support.

Sanders has kept up his strong base of support with Buckeye State voters under 30 years old with 52% support. Sanders’ numbers plummet with older voters, though, with only 4% of voters over 65 aligning with the Vermont senator.

Biden enjoys the opposite trend: 49% of voters over 65 support him, while he captures only 3% of 18 to 29 year olds.

Sanders has been able to retain the majority of voters who supported him in 2016, as 57% said they still stand with him. However, 16% of 2016 Sanders supporters have splintered into Warren’s camp since then, with 10% and 8% supporting Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris, respectively.

Harris, for her part, seems to be headed in the right direction in Ohio. Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling, said Thursday that “there are encouraging signs… as she gets 26% of the African-American vote, almost equal to Biden and Sanders who both get 27% of the African-American vote.”

Kimball continued, “This finding is in contrast to other states like South Carolina, where Biden has a lock on the African-American vote.”

Thursday’s poll also shows that the majority of Ohioans are game for the impeachment inquiry officially announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif., a little over a week ago.

Forty-seven percent of Ohio voters support impeachment of Trump, with 43% opposing it and 10% unsure. Unsurprisingly, support for impeachment differs dramatically along partisan lines, as Democrats support impeachment 79 to 14% and Republicans oppose it 75 to 12%. Independents are split down the middle, with 45% opposing and 44% supporting impeachment.

Impeachment support also divides among supporters of the top three Democratic candidates – 92% of Sanders supporters and 91% of Warren supporters are behind it, compared to 74% support among Biden’s base.

Impeachment ranked sixth out of nine issues polled in Ohio. One-third of voters identified the economy as the most important issue to them, with health care at 19%, social issues at 14% and the environment at 9%.

Kimball noted that “at this point, it does not appear that the impeachment issue would significantly impact a Trump candidacy,” seeing as how his numbers are comparable to Vice President Mike Pence in head-to-head matchups with the top three Democrats.

Those matchups have Biden and Sanders leading Trump 53 to 47% and Warren of Massachusetts leading the president 52 to 48%. If it were Pence running instead of Trump, he trails Warren and Sanders 51 to 49% and Biden 54 to 46%.

Trump’s approval rating in Ohio stands at 43% with a 51% disapproval rating, according to Thursday’s poll, which is similar to his national Real Clear Politics average. Trump’s disapproval rating differs between genders as well, with 54% of female voters disapproving against 48% of males.

Income also affects Trump’s approval ratings, as he only gets about 41% support among voters earning under $50,000 a year against his Democratic opponents, whereas support for Trump is evenly split among voters earning more than $50,000.

The poll also asked voters about the ongoing United Auto Workers strike over issues of wages, health care and the use of temporary workers. This also breaks along party lines, with 76% of Democrats and 58% of Independents sympathizing with the union, and 41% of Republicans supporting General Motors against 33% supporting the UAW.

Trump won Ohio in the 2016 presidential election against Democrat Hillary Clinton with a 51 to 42% margin.

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