Support for author J.D. Vance has doubled in the Ohio Republican Senate primary race, catapulting him ahead of earlier frontrunners former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Mike Gibbons -- although many voters remain undecided or uncertain about their vote. 

That’s according to a Fox News survey of Ohio voters participating in the May 3 GOP primary.

Vance receives the backing of 23% of primary voters, up 12 points since last month. Mandel gets 18% (down 2 points), while Gibbons stands at 13% (down 9). State Sen. Matt Dolan comes in at 11% (+4) and former Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken gets 6% (-3).

The contest appears fluid. Vance’s 5-point advantage is within the survey’s margin of sampling error -- and the largest number of primary voters, 25%, remains undecided about their vote. Moreover, half of those currently supporting a candidate say they could change their mind. 


Former President Donald Trump endorsed Vance on April 15.  Forty-two percent of primary voters say that made them more supportive of Vance, while it made 23% less supportive.  For another 27%, Trump’s stamp of approval made no difference. 

"The race is obviously close, and this is clearly a case in which an endorsement has made a difference," says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts Fox News surveys with Democrat Chris Anderson. "With support spread out among five candidates who are pretty similar in policy terms, the bump that comes with Trump’s blessing is enough to jump Vance to the head of the pack." 


Trump won Ohio by 8 points in both 2016 and 2020. 

In his statement endorsing the author, Trump said, "It is all about winning!"

Many Ohio GOP primary voters agree. Fifty percent say a candidate’s electability will be extremely important in deciding their vote. That’s far more than the 27% who give the same weight to the candidate being a strong supporter of Trump.

Vance is the top choice with the voters who prioritize winning in November (by 13 points) as well as those who want a strong Trump supporter (by 8 points).

Retiring Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who has held office since 2011, endorsed Timken. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is backing Mandel, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul endorsed Gibbons, and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is campaigning for Vance. 

Voters see Vance as the most likable.  He garners a net +29 favorable rating: 52% view him favorably vs. 23% unfavorably. That puts him ahead of Dolan (+21), Mandel (+18), Gibbons (+15), and Timken (+4). 

However, many are unfamiliar with the candidates: 25% are unable to rate Vance, 31% Gibbons, 37% Timken, and 45% Dolan. Mandel is the most known, as 15% can’t give an opinion of him. 


Undecided Senate voters give Vance the highest net favorable rating (+14), closely followed by Mandel (+12), Dolan (+11), and Gibbons (+8). In addition, undecided voters are less likely than those who are supporting a candidate to say it is extremely important to vote for someone who can win in November (37%), or that it is extremely important the candidate is a strong supporter of Trump (16%).

"Undecided voters might be looking at this race differently than those who have decided. Vance clearly gained an important bloc of voters from Trump’s endorsement, but he may have already reaped all he can from that," says Anderson.

A 60% majority of Ohio GOP primary voters would like to see Trump run for president again, while a sizable 32% minority rejects that idea. Vance (25%) and Mandel (22%) lead among those who want another Trump run. Dolan (25%) leads among those who do not want to see Trump on the ballot again, with Vance (18%) second.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike DeWine (43%) maintains a significant lead over former Congressman Jim Renacci (24%) and farmer and businessman Joe Blystone (19%). Still, compared to last month, DeWine’s support is down 7 points and Renacci’s up 6. 

Seventy percent of DeWine’s backers feel certain they will vote for him compared to 64% for Renacci and 63% for Blystone. 


Conducted April 20-24, 2022 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R), this Fox News Poll includes telephone interviews (landline and cellphone) with live interviewers among 906 Ohio Republican primary voters and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Randomly selected from a statewide voter file of registered Ohio voters, respondents were screened to identify potential participants in the Republican primary elections.

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.