Voters eager for change; Stivers unknown in district
June 25, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. – Republican incumbent Congressman Steve Stivers is mostly unknown in his own congressional district—41% of Ohio-15 voters are not sure of their opinion of Stivers.
40% of OH-15 voters are also unsure of their opinion of the congressman’s job performance in his first term.
Stivers’ anonymity is a big reason why the incumbent congressman receives only a plurality (43%) victory in a head-to-head matchup with Democratic challenger Pat Lang, who receives 33% support in the matchup. 24% of voters are unsure of who they would support in a Stivers-Lang contest, making November’s race a tossup.
OH-15 voters’ enthusiasm for change also promises to make the race competitive. 41% of voters say they want someone new to replace Stivers. Independents want someone new over Stivers 40-33. 70% of African American voters and 50% of young voters (age 18 to 29) also want someone new.
Lang trails by just 10 points, even with 23% of Democrats unsure of who they plan to support in the November election. If Lang captures all of the remaining unsure Democrats, he will increase his share of the vote to 41%, pulling himself within 2 points of Stivers.
Another bright spot for Lang is that Stivers is struggling with key population demographics. 57% of African American voters view Stivers unfavorably. Just 22% of African American voters are unsure of their opinion of Stivers.
49% of Independents answered “not sure” when asked of their opinion of Stivers’ job performance. Independents narrowly approve of Stivers’ job performance, 26-25.
Lang is polling well with young voters against Stivers, defeating the incumbent 44-38. Stivers performs best with voters over 65, beating Lang 47-30.
But something most OH-15 voters agree on is that the country is on the wrong track. A clear majority (61%) of OH-15 voters feel America is on the wrong track. 66% of Independents think the country is on the wrong track, while just 29% of Democrats feel the same way. 73% of African Americans think the country in on the right track, while 62% of Whites think the country is on the wrong track. Young voters are the most optimistic with 39% believing the country is on the right track, while voters age 30 to 45 are the most pessimistic with just 25% believing the country is on the right track and 70% believing it’s on the wrong track.
A majority of OH-15 voters (51%) said it is important to allow public employees to bargain collectively for wages and working conditions. Independents favor allowing bargaining rights for public employees, 47-43. All age groups except voters age 30 to 45 believe it is important to grant bargaining rights to public employees.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Romney leads President Obama in the district, 48-43. This result is consistent with voters’ general attitudes towards the parties—generic Republican congressional candidates lead generic Democratic congressional candidates in the district by 8 points, 46-38.
But OH-15 voters are more supportive of Democratic candidates on the local level. Incumbent Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown is leading Republican challenger Josh Mandel in the district by 2 points, 46-44. More voters view Republican Gov. John Kasich unfavorably than favorably, 45-41.
PPP surveyed 780 OH 15 voters from June 20th to June 22nd. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.5%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews.