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Ohio's importance on the campaign trail

With the first contest underway, the 2020 presidential election season is picking up speed.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — With the first contest underway, the 2020 presidential election season is picking up speed.   

Ohio’s primary isn’t until mid-March. Ohio Northern University Professor of Political Science, Dr. Robert Alexander, says generally speaking, Ohio hasn’t meant too much during the primaries in the last few election cycles.

“I think that’s likely to change in this election cycle because there are so many democrats we’re unlikely to see anybody really distinguish themselves or separate themselves from the pack,” he says.

According to Case Western Reserve University Associate Professor of Political Science, Dr. Justin Buchler, Ohio’s importance will depend on how closely contested the race is once the primary is here.

“We’ve had contests drag on for long periods of time but it’s also possible that everything could be wrapped up before Ohio, there’s really no way to say at this point.”

Dr. Alexander and Ohio Northern are part of the 2020 Great Lakes Poll, a collaboration that includes professors at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, among others. The team of researchers are surveying voters in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

All four voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but flipped to President Trump in 2016.

“They are critical states in determining who the next president is going to be,” explains Alexander.

POLL: Joe Biden opens up double-digit lead in Ohio's Democratic presidential primary

Of the four states, Ohio was most Republican-friendly, he says, but there is an opening for Democrats depending on the candidate the party runs in the election.

According to Alexander, the very first poll found voters in the four states a little frustrated with President Trump, “but we also found that the respondents seem to be a little frustrated with partisan politics , that they kind of want a little bit more moderation in the field, thinking the Democrats moved too far to the left, Republicans moved too far to the right.”

The Ohio Primary is March 17th. The deadline to register for the primary is February 18th. 

"Ohio's being tested right now, is it actually a Republican state or is it still a swing state," Alexander asks. "Looking to see who has strength in the state will be pretty important."

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