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Campaigning on Climate: A Public Opinion and Research Memo on Suburban Voters for Candidates Across Ohio

Climate change is an existential crisis that is already impacting Ohio families. However, decreasing carbon emissions and acting on the climate crisis aren’t just good for our environment—they are highly persuasive for Ohio’s most sought-after voting block: suburban voters. The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) worked alongside partners to poll, research, and study the impact that climate change messaging has on suburban voters across Ohio.

Our findings are clear: suburban Ohioans want to support candidates with bold plans to invest in renewable energy and combat the climate crisis. As candidates make their closing pitches in tight contests across the state, climate must be a top priority.

Suburban Voter Opinion Polling Conducted by EMC Research

In August, on behalf of OEC, EMC Research conducted a poll of 600 likely November 2022 voters in Suburban areas of Ohio. Suburban voters were identified using defined Metro counties and subtracting from those counties any voters living within the boundaries of Census-Defined Places with populations above 50,000. Interviews were conducted via live telephone interviews, email, and text-to-web methodologies from August 3-8, 2022. The survey has a margin of error of +4.0 percentage points at the overall level.

Key Finding #1: Suburban voters care about climate change.

  • Two-thirds (67%) of suburban voters say that climate change is an “extremely important concern”. 
  • Three-in-five (63%) of suburban voters consider themselves to be environmentalists, including 87% of Democrats, 55% of independents, and 42% of Republicans.  

Key Finding #2: Suburban voters want to vote for candidates who support renewable energy. 

Suburban voters who would be more likely to vote for a candidate supporting renewable energy include:

  • Democrats (97% more likely), Women under 50 (73% more likely), Men over 65 (72% more likely), College graduates (68% more likely), Suburban voters in Central Ohio area (67% more likely)
  • Half (50%) of independent voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports renewable energy.

Key Finding #3: Suburban voters want to see concrete policy action on renewable energy.

  • 74% of suburban voters support developing a comprehensive and equitable energy policy that promotes renewable energy and grows clean energy jobs in communities across the state.
  • 67% of suburban voters support repealing state regulations that limit the development of wind and solar power on private land.

Key Finding #4: Positive, pragmatic, and solutions-focused communications approaches are most effective with suburban voters.

Examples of highly-effective proposals for suburban voters include:

  • Addressing air pollution and referencing high rates of allergies, asthma, and lung cancer in Ohio
  • Protecting clean drinking water and referencing the historic pollution of the Ohio River and Lake Erie
  • Calling out corruption related to House Bill 6 and taxpayer subsidies of coal and nuclear energy
  • Ending unfair regulations that prevent family farmers from being able to profit from solar and wind energy by restricting the development of renewables on private property 

Voter Message Testing Conducted by Innovation Ohio 

On behalf of the Ohio Environmental Council, Innovation Ohio (IO) conducted research into how to effectively message to voters about renewable energy investments in order to promote support for pro-renewable energy policies and candidates. IO conducted an Audience Understanding Survey and real-time message test using the GrowProgress platform, which recruits participants via a number of platform partners to take surveys online. Participants are Ohio adults and samples are weighted by age, gender, race, education, and party to resemble the electorate. For the Audience Understanding Survey, 597 Ohioans were surveyed from September 23-27, 2022. The goal of this survey was to understand which demographic groups respond most strongly to a variety of messages around climate change and renewable energy.

Key Message #1: Ohio can be the center of the renewable energy technology boom. 

  • Message: “Ohio is primed to be the center of the clean energy technology boom that will bring hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs to our state and revitalize our communities. By diversifying our energy sources, renewable energy will decrease energy costs for families and make Ohio energy independent.”
  • Highly persuasive with the following audiences: (% increase in support)
    • Location: Cincinnati Media Market (+25%), Cleveland-Akron Media Market (+15%)
    • Ideology: Conservatives (+24%), Independents (+16%)
    • Urbanity: Rural voters (+24%)
    • Age: 35-54 year-olds (+14%)
    • Race: White voters (+14%)
    • Education: Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (+21%)
    • Turnout: Medium-Turnout voters (+14%)

Key Message #2: Renewable energy means Ohio can thrive economically and keep young people here. 

  • Message: “Ohio needs to stop exporting our children. Investing in renewable energy will bring jobs to Ohio, ensuring the careers of the future are right here in our state—so our kids don’t have to leave to get a great job and raise a family.”
  • Highly persuasive with the following audiences: (% increase in support)
    • Ideology: Conservatives (+17%)
    • Education: Bachelor’s Degree or Higher (+17%)
    • Income: Incomes below $50,000 (+11%)
    • Gender: Women (+15%)

Bottom Line

As candidates enter the final days of the 2022 campaign, speaking directly about bringing renewable energy jobs to Ohio and combating the climate crisis will be an effective strategy to persuade key suburban voters to support their campaigns.


For the full memo with results from EMC Research, please visit this link.
For the full memo with results from Innovation Ohio, please visit this link. 

Questions? Contact Political Director Spencer Dirrig at