Ohio counties where Donald Trump won biggest in 2016 among those with the highest COVID-19 rates now

Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 19:23:02-04

CLEVELAND — When Governor Mike DeWine listed the top 20 counties in Ohio with the highest rates of coronavirus occurrence he warned, "I think every Ohioan needs to be alarmed by what we are seeing,” he said. "Some of the very very high incidence counties are just literally off the charts."

In looking at those counties on a map we found there were many similarities to another map we created for a story last week on the 30 counties that Donald Trump won in 2016 with more than 70% of the vote. Eleven of those 30 counties are seeing the highest rate of spread, including number three on the governor's list, Mercer County, which gave the president his highest Ohio margin of victory four years ago with 80% of the vote.

This is of note because surveys have shown Republican voters are less inclined to vote by mail. Just 17% of Trump supporters in an ABC News poll last month said they preferred to vote by mail compared to 54% of Biden voters. News 5 Political Analyst Tom Sutton says that we could see a COVID-19 change.

"Given these spikes, we might see a slight shift in that of people that vote earlier because of the spike of coronavirus in these counties and really throughout Ohio,” Sutton said.

On the flip side with less than a week to go before Election Day an astounding 2.3 million votes are already in Ohio. That's equal to nearly half of all the people that voted in 2016 as a result.

"There are also some people who are looking at this maybe they're going back and forth about whether they're going to vote early and thinking ok just to that point if a lot of people have already voted maybe going on Election Day might actually be fairly safe, there won't be nearly as much turnout on Election Day itself,” Sutton said.

To that end, the state has put out a 61 point checklist it developed with the CDC to make sure each polling location is safe.

"That's the massive quantities of PPE and hand sanitizer and shields and all of the different things that are going on to make sure that our voting locations are safe,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. “The bottom line is this if you feel comfortable going out to your grocery store you should feel comfortable coming out to your polling location and I confidently say that that's the case."