Cleveland.com: Polling Shows Wide Gender Gap In Ohio, Factoring Into Competitive Senate Race
September 30, 2022
Columbus, OH —A new report from Cleveland.com shows how Vance’s extreme comments and stances on abortion are blowing the gender gap in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race wide open.
Vance supports a national abortion ban (which he described as “reasonable”), called rape “inconvenient,” compared abortion to slavery, wants to force survivors of rape and incest to give birth, and floated dangerous antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories to explain his support of a national abortion ban.
“Ohio women are rejecting J.D. Vance because J.D. Vance believes survivors of rape and incest should have to give birth to their rapist’s baby. He’s an extremist who believes that rape is ‘inconvenient’ and a woman’s right to choose is akin to slavery,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson from the Ohio Democratic Party.
Read more below:
Cleveland.com: Polling shows wide gender gap in Ohio, factoring into competitive Senate race
September 29, 2022
- COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s a consistent trend in politics: for whatever reason, men and women tend to see things much differently than each other.
- That gender gap is playing what appears to be a key role in Ohio’s surprisingly competitive race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Rob Portman. The dynamic points to women as a key bloc of potential swing voters in the race – and also may offer clues about how abortion may factor into the Nov. 8 election.
- A Siena College/Spectrum News poll of likely Ohio voters released earlier this week found Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan holding a big lead among women voters over J.D. Vance, the Republican Senate nominee. Vance also held a significant, but relatively smaller, lead with men. It added up to an effective tie in the race.
- Political polls have been inaccurate during most recent Ohio elections, consistently undercounting support for Republican candidates. But while the specific numbers vary, the Siena poll’s general findings – Vance significantly underperforming DeWine among women voters – were similar to those in public polls released earlier this month by other independent, university pollsters like Suffolk University/USA Today, Marist College and Baldwin Wallace University. Private polls from both Republican and Democratic alike paint much the same picture.
- “J.D. Vance is pretty far behind with women,” said one Republican pollster who spoke on condition of anonymity. “At one point he was 2-1 behind, but that’s gotten a little bit better. And some of that is natural closing that’s going to happen at the end of the race because voters will kind of go back to their fox holes a little bit.”
- “All I can say is women don’t like J.D. Vance. I think he’s creating a bigger gap than you might typically see,” said Molly Murphy, a national Democratic pollster who’s working for the Ryan campaign.
- But previous actions from Vance and other Republican Senate candidates also suggest they realize they have ground to make up with women.
- In August, Vance was among several male Republican Senate candidates in battleground states who ran television ads featuring women family members to vouch for them, according to Politico. Vance’s ad, the first of the general election campaign, featured his wife, Usha, who spoke directly to the camera about her husband’s life story and her relationship with him.
- In an interview on Tuesday, Ryan said he thinks the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June striking down national legal protections for abortion and turning the issue over to the states is a key factor in how women view the race. Ryan is an advocate for abortion rights, while Vance opposes abortion.
- Ryan also said Vance has made “extreme” comments – which the Ryan campaign has highlighted – including defending his position opposing rape exemptions in abortion bans.
- “We’re feeling it at our events,” Ryan said. “We’re hearing about it on doors. Women are energized… And then we’ve got a strong economic message that’s appealing to men. And so I think that’s going to be the coalition.”
- In recent elections, men have been more likely to tell pollsters they’re supporting Republican candidates and conservative policies while the opposite has been true of women. Suburban women, meanwhile, have been viewed as a swing bloc, potentially voting for either party.
- But Lauren Copeland, a political scientist at Baldwin Wallace University who runs the school’s voter research operation, said this year’s gender gap seems especially pronounced.
- Copeland said she suspects that the June decision from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning national abortion protections is a key factor. She said women are much more likely to say the issue is a key motivating factor for them when deciding who to vote for.
- State voter-registration data also shows a disproportionately high number of women registering to vote since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in late June, according to TargetSmart, a Democratic data firm, although the significance is unclear, especially given larger voter registration numbers in Republican-leaning counties from earlier in the year.
- “I think politics doesn’t get more personal than that. But it’s also one thing for government to grant rights or to create programs, it’s another thing to take those away,” Copeland said.
- The Siena College poll surveyed 642 likely voters by telephone, with their responses weighted by factors like gender, race, education and geographic location to try to match the 2020 electorate. It was conducted from Sept. 18-22, the most recent public poll in Ohio. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4%, although the margin for error is greater for subgroups, like men and women.
- Siena College has an A rating for accuracy from FiveThirtyEight, the polling website. Siena didn’t conduct a presidential poll in Ohio in 2020, but it undercounted Republican support by roughly 5 percentage points that year in nearby Michigan and Pennsylvania.
- When asked for the number-one issue that will influence who they’ll vote for in November, 47% of men and 36% of women in the poll cited the economy and inflation, making it the number-one issue. And similar numbers of men and women – 61% and 64% respectively – said rising costs of living had caused them or their families to make cutbacks in their expenses.
- But beyond the economy, men’s and women’s views on issues diverge widely.
- Women are much more likely than men to say they oppose conservative policies when it comes to issues like guns and especially abortion. Women also are more likely to say abortion is a top issue – ranking second – while men ranked it fourth, behind “threats to democracy” and gun policy.
- Women also were much more likely to say they support Democratic candidates.
- For example, 48% of women said they approve of President Joe Biden, compared to 46% who said they disapprove, good for a +2 net approval rating, according to the Siena poll. Among men, Biden’s net approval rating was -31.
- However, DeWine has shown signs of outperforming with women, holding a lead among women voters in four of five public polls this month, while Vance has not led with women in any of those polls.
- Although abortion consistently has ranked as a higher priority recently for women than men, the Siena poll shows a wider gender gap than what’s typical when it comes to views on abortion itself.
- Roughly two-thirds of women said they opposed Ohio’s “heartbeat” abortion law, which bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. A slight plurality of men, 49% support versus 47% opposed, said they support the law, although a similar percentage of men also said they opposed striking down Roe. v. Wade.