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Which Democratic Presidential Candidate Will Win Ohio?

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Which Democratic Presidential Candidate Will Win Ohio?
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The Ohio primary is less than three weeks away. With the 10th democratic debate behind us, Ohioans are getting a better idea of who’s speaking on issues that affect the state, and who they may nominate to face President Donald Trump in November. 

A recent poll by Baldwin Wallace University gauged Ohio voters’ priorities among a range of issues, and found the top three to be the economy (31%), security (22.6%), and health care (22.5%). As democratic candidates fight to separate themselves from the pack, Ohioans are looking to see who can represent their interests in these three categories. 

Below, we take a look at the top four polling democrats in Ohio – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren – to see where they stand.

*Note: Candidate platform information sourced from Politico


Ohioans are relatively happy with the economy right now. According to the Baldwin Wallace poll, 45% of Ohioans think the economy has improved over the last year; 26% say it’s stayed about the same; and another 25% say it’s gotten worse. This being Ohioans’ top priority when considering a presidential candidate, democrats are going to have to work hard to show they’ll make vast improvements to the economy if elected.

Where They Stand


  • Plans a $2.5 trillion investment in a “housing for all” program
    • Would create 10 million units, plus boost funding for Section 8 housing
    • Couples with a 25% house-flipping tax on homeowners who bought a home and sold it at a higher price in fewer than five years
  • Supports reinstating Glass-Steagall
    • A depression-era measure, it would prohibit one company from engaging in banking and retail
    • Would break up the biggest banks
  • Promotes instating an “extreme wealth tax”
    • Would also raise taxes on businesses whose CEOs make 50 times their median worker’s salary
  • Supports a $15 minimum wage that rises with inflation
  • Plans to establish six months of paid leave


  • Supports a $15 minimum wage
  • Plans to improve paid leave, no specific policy mentioned


  • Supports increased funding for federal housing programs
  • Would expand low-income housing tax credit
  • Plans to create a $10 billion incentive for cities tackling aggressive zoning rules
  • Suggests reversing the Trump Administration’s weakening of rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, which originally put strict regulations on lenders and banks
  • Promotes public investment to increase research and development spending by $100 billion through the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense
  • Stands behind a $15 minimum wage
  • Supports improving paid leave, no specific policy mentioned


  • Plans a $470 billion investment in two housing funds
  • Would increase funding allocated for states to build, rehabilitate, and preserve affordable housing
  • Supports expanding tenants’ rights by cutting off Federal Housing Administration funding to landlords who harass tenants or violate housing codes
  • Would also bring back Glass-Steagall
  • Suggests a tax on “ultra-millionaires,” targeting the U.S.’s 75,000 richest families
  • Supports a $15 minimum wage
  • Plans to implement 12 weeks of paid leave

Who’s best for Ohio on economy?

Affordable housing is a major need for cities and states all over the nation. In Ohio, there are only 43 available and affordable rental units per every 100 extremely low-income renter households, and Ohio’s most vulnerable populations are spending more than half of their income on housing, according to a recent report. Candidates Sanders, Bloomberg and Warren all have solid policy plans to improve the state of affordable housing nationwide, while Biden comes up short.

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation without a federal paid family leave program, so this issue hits home for Ohioans, as Ohio’s only family leave option is unpaid. According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17% of all civilian workers had access to paid family leave, while 89% had access to unpaid family leave. Here, Sanders’ aggressive six month policy stands out among his competitors, who’d offer up to 12 weeks or nothing at all.

Health Care

The U.S. health care system has been under tough scrutiny since before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted. While the ACA has increased the number of insured Americans by tens of millions, few people – even democrats – would say the ACA fixed everything. 

On average, the U.S. spends about twice as much on health care as any other country. In 2017, U.S. health care consumption cost $10,224 per capita, the comparable country average being $5,280 per capita. Sanders’ Medicare for All plan has popularized the idea of universal health care in the States, a system that every other industrialized nation has already embraced. But democrats are divided on the idea, some wanting to retain the private insurance industry while introducing a “public option,” and others wanting nothing to do with it at all.

Where They Stand


  • Advocates for a Medicare for All plan that would put all Americans under a government-run insurance plan and eliminate the private insurance sector
  • Would set prescription drug costs based on prices other countries are paying


  • Prefers to build on ACA’s foundation; thinks it is too soon to launch another overhaul of the U.S. health care system
  • Would set prescription drug costs based on prices other countries are paying


  • Similar to Biden, prefers to build on ACA’s foundation; focus on those who remain uninsured; possibly introduce a public option later


  • Advocates for a Medicare for All plan that would put all Americans under a government-run insurance plan and eliminate the private insurance sector
  • Would create a government drug manufacturer to act as a competitor when there is a major price hike in prescription drugs
  • Would establish “march-in-rights” for drug manufacturers to produce drugs that were patented with government funding if other companies are charging too much

Who’s best for Ohio on health care?

It’s tough to determine what Ohioans want their health care to look like. Most Americans are satisfied with the quality of their health care, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. Yet, in another poll, most say they are unhappy with the cost. One of the main criticisms of universal health care is that quality of care may decrease.

The statistics on what Ohioans want out of their health care are limited. One poll exclusive to northeast Ohio – a somewhat progressive bubble – determined that the majority would opt for Medicare for All. A broader poll of the U.S. determined that most Americans want a universal health care option to exist alongside their current private options. Biden and Bloomberg’s plans to build on the ACA may not fly with Ohioans, who not only want fewer Americans to be uninsured, but would also like to see their own costs go down. Because most seem satisfied with the quality of their health insurance, Ohioans may be hesitant to embrace a complete transition of the system to Medicare for All, like what Warren and Sanders are proposing.

Security (Immigration)

Ohioans are pretty split in their opinion on Trump’s handling of illegal immigration, with 46% expressing approval and 49% not approving; others remain unsure. Last year, the National Immigration Forum released a study showing that more than half of the American public believe immigrants are beneficial to the country. That same study found that the percentage of Americans who want to see an increase in immigration levels has grown. 

Despite agreeing immigrants are beneficial to the U.S., and a close majority disapproving of Trump’s calls on policy, there are no major changes to immigration reform proposed by the democratic presidential candidates. Unanimously, they’d all immediately cut funding for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and most would reinstate a path to citizenship for Dreamers and DACA recipients. 

Many candidates have taken their side on former attorney general Jeff Sessions’ zero tolerance policy, Section 1325 of federal law. The law resulted in a surge of immigrant incarcerations and the separation of thousands of families. Sanders and Warren would rescind Section 1325; Biden would keep it on the books; and Bloomberg hasn’t stated his stance. None have said how they would handle the backlog of immigration cases or the growing number of immigrants in sanctuary.

Who’s best for Ohio on security?

The data for Ohio specifically does not exist, but national surveys have found that half of Americans support the Trump Administration’s zero tolerance policy, but a majority oppose the separation of parents from their children. In essence, Americans want people to go to jail for crossing the border illegally, but find the resulting family separation unfortunate.

It’s hard to say which democratic presidential candidate represents Ohioans’ – or anyone’s – views on immigration; Americans don’t even know what they want.

The polls say Ohio is feelin’ the Bern

Despite Biden leading the polls in Ohio since June 19, Sanders surpassed Biden in February, and his lead has only grown. A New York Times poll has Sanders garnering 28% of the vote, 12 points ahead of Biden (16%). Bloomberg follows at 15%, Warren at 13%, and Buttigieg at 10%. (Editor’s Note: as of Sunday, March 1, Buttigieg has dropped out of the race.)

On a national level, Sanders is looking more and more like the frontrunner every day, but he still has the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to contend with. While Sanders seems to be getting the most number of delegates, he has yet to win over the majority. Sanders is calling for the party to rally behind him, whether or not he achieves a majority, a move many of the lawmakers have yet to endorse. As in 2016, the DNC is risking an image crisis if they undermine Sanders’ success in support of an establishment candidate.

Who will win Ohio’s heart? There are still three weeks left to decide. And as we learned in 2016, polls can end up meaning absolutely nothing.

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