After two straight polls that had the race too close to call in Ohio, Quinnipiac University’s latest poll before Election Day gives former Vice President Joe Biden a surprising but narrow lead over President Donald Trump, who won the state in 2016.
Among likely voters in Ohio, 48% support Biden and 43% support Trump. This is a significant shift from the previous polls conducted by Quinnipiac on Oct. 14 and Sept. 24, which both showed Biden ahead by just one point – 48 to 47. While the latest poll shows Biden with a slim lead over the president, it still falls within the margin of error, as did those previous.
It should be noted that while Biden did not gain any new likely voters, Trump lost 4% of them compared to the previous two Quinnipiac polls. That 4% moved from Trump’s column to those who either didn’t know who they would vote for or didn’t answer the question.
Other recent polls show the race is either a toss-up or have Trump slightly ahead of Biden. Baldwin Wallace University’s Great Lakes Poll, published on Oct. 11, showed Biden trailing Trump by two points, which was within the margin of error and considered a dead heat between the two candidates.
Nate Silver’s website FiveThirtyEight.com, which forecasts national and state election results with a mix of multiple polls, demographics and voting patterns, currently has Ohio as a toss-up, with Trump winning 55 out of 100 scenarios and Biden winning 45 in 100. Almost all October polls used by Silver and his team show Ohio as a toss-up, with Trump slightly or significantly ahead in over half the polls.
Biden’s favorability among Ohio’s likely voters remained steady in the Quinnipiac polling, remaining almost evenly split between the 47% who have a favorable opinion on him versus 46% who are unfavorable.
Trump’s favorability among Ohio voters slipped 3 points from earlier this month – 43% have a favorable opinion and 50% have an unfavorable opinion. Five percent of voters refused to answer the question this time.
Ohioans have also shifted how they plan to vote in the last two weeks, according to the poll. On Oct. 14, 47% of those polled said they planned to vote in person, 30% planned to vote early by mail or absentee ballot, and 21% said they would vote at an early voting location.
In the Oct. 29 poll, in-person Election Day voters dropped 8% to 39%, while 32% planned to vote early by mail or absentee ballot and 26% said they would vote at an early voting location.
The Quinnipiac Poll was conducted with live interviewers calling landlines and cell phones between October 23 and 27 and recording responses from 1,186 self-identified likely voters across Ohio. Thirty-one percent of respondents identified as Republican, 33% Democrat, 27% Independent, and 10% were other, did not know or did not answer.