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Originally Published: Associated Press By THOMAS BEAUMONT and JULIE CARR SMYTH
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Peggy Lehner, a Republican state senator in Ohio, doesn’t sugarcoat what she has seen happen to support for President Donald Trump in her suburban Dayton district.
“It hasn’t ebbed. It’s crashed,” said Lehner, who is not seeking reelection in the district of working-class and white-collar communities the president won comfortably four years ago. “He is really doing poorly among independents.”
Trump’s chances for a second term rest heavily on being able to maintain the margins he won by in 2016, particularly in suburban areas. Trump campaigned outside Dayton and Toledo Monday, as liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death stoked questions of whether the sudden court vacancy would energize more suburban voters who support abortion rights or social conservatives in small-town and rural areas who oppose them.
During his Ohio visit, Trump credited himself with boosting manufacturing in the state prior to the pandemic and warned of economic devastation if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden beats him in six weeks. “Put simply, if Biden wins, China wins,” Trump said. “If we win, Ohio wins and most importantly, in all fairness, America wins.”
But Republican lawmakers and strategists in Ohio say they are seeing research that shows a near-uniform drop in support from his 2016 totals across every suburban region of the state.