BEREA, Ohio — The global coronavirus pandemic understandably has a lot of people on edge. In Ohio alone, more than 800 people have been confirmed to have the disease, and 15 have died.
While it can be hard to tell what comes next, most Ohioans seem to be confident about what the state is doing to combat the spread of the virus. Notably, they are nearly all behind Gov. Mike DeWine.
According to a new poll conducted by Baldwin Wallace University, just under 80% of state residents approve of DeWine's response to the pandemic. The praise was universal across party lines, with Democrats (85%) actually approving slightly more than those in the Republican governor's own party (83%).
DeWine and those in his administration (particularly Department of Health Director Amy Acton) have earned high marks for their proactive measures since the first cases in Ohio were confirmed a little over two weeks ago. Those measures have included a ban on most gatherings of more than 50 people, an expansion of unemployment benefits, postponing the Ohio Primary election, and issuing a "stay-at-home" order that has shut down all "non-essential" businesses.
Both DeWine and Dr. Acton have also committed to holding daily press briefings every day at 2 p.m., which has earned both a bit of a cult following: The messages are often referred to as "Wine with DeWine" or "Snackin' with Acton."
The governor, who has consistently taken an apolitical approach to his response, says these actions will help "flatten the curve" and avoid a further strain on the healthcare system. While he understands the frustrations of those who are currently without work or unable to go anywhere, he has declared, "We save our economy by first saving lives, and we have to do it and do it in that order."
The BW poll is the second in its "Great Lakes" series during this year's elections, and was carried out in conjunction with Ohio Northern University and Oakland University in Michigan. Residents in three other states were also asked to give their responses on how their governors are handling the crisis; none received nearly as good a rating as DeWine, although they were still mostly positive:
- Michigan: Gretchen Whitmer (D) - 69%
- Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (D) - 69%
- Wisconsin: Tony Evers (D) - 68%
More than 1,000 Ohioans were polled randomly over an eight-day period, making the margin of error for the survey +/- 3.3%.