BEREA, Ohio — Things are officially going down to the wire in the Buckeye State.
A new poll released by Baldwin Wallace University shows incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are statistically deadlocked among Ohio voters, with the Democrat Biden leading the Republican Trump by just three-fifths of a percentage point (44.9%-44.3%). That's well within the margin of error, and roughly 10% of voters say they could still change their mind, meaning its anyone's race as the presidential election approaches.
Most analysts see Ohio as a toss-up, and no candidate has won the presidency without claiming victory in Ohio since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Appropriately, the first debate between Trump and Biden will take place Tuesday in Cleveland.
Trump carried the state by eight points over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016, but that cushion has evaporated, as 51% of state voters currently disapprove of the president's job performance. Additionally, 52% of respondents said they have an "unfavorable" view of the president.
Biden has made inroads in Ohio, and also holds leads in Michigan (50%-42%) and Wisconsin (50%-41%) while also being statistically tied with Trump in Pennsylvania (47%-45%). A plurality of Ohioans (48%) currently view him unfavorably, though, as they do with his running mate, California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (45%). However, both of those marks still make them slightly more popular than Trump.
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a major impact on the way this election is conducted, as many residents will eschew in-person voting due to social distancing concerns. While the survey showed most Ohioans still plan to vote in person, a large number (42%) intend to vote by mail or absentee ballot.
Trump has falsely claimed mail-in voting is "rife with fraud," and some fear he will use his power as president to affect the balloting in his favor. Despite these concerns, the vast majority of Ohioans (87%) are "confident" their vote will be counted fairly and accurately.
Racial issues are also playing a big role in this election following various incidents of police brutality against Black Americans and subsequent protests. Trump has attempted to portray the protesters as mere "anarchists" who need "law and order," but it appears the message is not resonating much in either direction: 29% of Ohioans say the violence and protests make them more likely to vote for Biden, while 27% say the same for Trump. 41% said it didn't affect them either way. 53% did express support for the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
The survey was conducted randomly among registered voters over a two-week period that ended Tuesday, with Oakland University in Michigan and Ohio Northern University assisting Baldwin Wallace in the process. You can view the full results and methodology below: