Poll: ‘Dead Heat’ in Ohio-12 Special Congressional Election

Troy Balderson, Danny O'Connor
Campaign Handouts

An Emerson College e-Poll released on Monday shows that Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District is a dead heat between Democrat Danny O’Connor and Republican Troy Balderson.

The Emerson College Polling Society said in a statement accompanying the release of the poll:

The final US Congressional special election before the November midterm elections will be held on August 7 in Ohio’s 12th district and it shows a neck and neck race: the Democrat, Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor has 47% of the vote and Republican, State Senator Troy Balderson is at 46%, 7% of very likely voters were undecided. The data was collected August 2 to 4, with +/-5 percentage points. The poll was taken prior to President Trump’s rally in the district on August 4.

The statement continued:

Both Congressional candidates are polarizing figures O’Connor has a 44% favorable and 41% unfavorable, while Balderson has a 46% favorable and 45% unfavorable opinion. President Trump is more popular in the district than he is nationwide with a 47% approval and 48% disapproval. Better news for Balderson, is that Pelosi is severely disliked with 56% disapproval and a 22% approval rating.

Independents are breaking 56% to 28% for O’Connor, and the Clinton voter seem more loyal to their party candidates in this election that those who voted for Trump. Clinton voters are breaking for O’Connor 95% to 3%, while Trump voters are breaking for Balderson 89% to 7%.

A gender divide has emerged as well in the race. Males back Balderson 53%-42%, while females break for O’Connor 51%-40%.

The Emerson College e-Poll “was conducted August 2-4, 2018 under the Supervision of Assistant Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of only likely voters, n=431, with a Credibility Interval (similar to margin of error) of +/- 5 percentage points. The data was weighted by party affiliation, age, county and gender based on a turnout out model.”

On Saturday night, President Trump traveled to the 12th Congressional District, where he held a rally of support for Balderson, as Breitbart News reported.

The president also tweeted his full endorsement of Balderson earlier on Saturday:

President Trump’s pointed criticism of Democrat candidate Danny O’Connor for “lying about his relationship with Nancy Pelosi” hits O’Connor at his most vulnerable.

After promising throughout his campaign that he would not vote for Pelosi for speaker of the House if elected, O’Connor admitted to Chris Matthews on MSNBC last month that he will, in fact, vote for Pelosi for speaker if he is elected.

For his part, O’Connor claims that if he wins on Tuesday, it will foreshadow a coming “Blue Wave” in the November midterm elections.

“I’m Danny O’Connor, and tomorrow I am on the ballot in a special congressional election in Ohio’s 12th district. With a matter of hours before voters head to the polls, I am asking for your support to flip this seat from red to blue,” he said in a fundraising email Monday morning.

“This district has been held by a Republican representative for decades — and Trump won it by 11 points in 2016. Pulling off a victory here won’t be easy. But if we make it happen, it will send shockwaves through the Republican Party,” O’Connor continued.

“Tomorrow is the last congressional special election before the midterms — and winning in Ohio’s 12th district will give Democrats all the momentum heading into November,” O’Connor concluded in his fundraising email.

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