New polling indicates that Ohio Republican nominee J.D. Vance leads his Democrat opponent in that state’s crucial Senate race. Vance, recipient of one of Donald Trump’s most controversial endorsements this year, has a slim lead over Democrat Tim Ryan in a new Suffolk University poll. Trump won Ohio in both 2016 and 2020, but his favored Senate candidate has been embraced less readily by the state’s Republicans despite the high-profile endorsement.
Vance holds narrow lead over Ryan
Vance’s lead over Ryan is small and leaves the two candidates virtually tied, but it should certainly be enough to disprove claims that Vance is not electable in a general election.
A barrage of attack ads during the primary has left Vance with a high unfavorability rating despite the state’s strong Republican base.
His challenge in the coming months will be to rally skeptical Republicans and independents and convince them that he can do more for the people of Ohio than his Democratic opponent can.
Vance appears to be rejecting the standard practice of nominees moderating their stances after the primary to appeal to general election voters.
The Hillbilly Elegy author believes that his stances are already strong enough to win the support of voters who have rejected conservative candidates in the past.
Economics continues to be a central concern for the Vance campaign, but as nominee he isn’t shying away from social issues either and he is not disavowing some of his previous hardline stances.
Unconventional nominee still electable
Vance has not shied away from supporting the use of government power for conservative and pro-family causes as aggressively as liberals use the government for their own purposes.
He supports a massive purge of the Washington D.C. bureaucracy, which he believes will otherwise quietly dismantle any conservative agenda promoted by a Republican president.
These are not stances that any traditional Republican of recent decades would embrace, but Vance is not particularly worried about what the establishment wing of the party thinks of him.
He has argued openly that the United States is in a “late republican period” which is awaiting a new Caesar who is willing to throw aside convention and do things most conservatives would be uncomfortable with to stop the left.
That is an opinion that really would have made a candidate unelectable only a few years ago, but the polls show that Vance isn’t really suffering for it.
Surveys have consistently showed that most Americans feel that the nation is on the wrong path. Vance’s “ends justify the means” approach to politics is still alien to establishment politics, but it isn’t particularly worrisome for the average voter.