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CRI: 2020 Great Lakes Poll

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Great Lakes PollGreat Lakes Poll Overview

The Baldwin Wallace University Great Lakes Poll, in partnership with Oakland University and Ohio Northern University, was created to study voter sentiment in Ohio and three other Midwest states that were decided by razor-thin margins in the 2016 presidential election: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Read more on the background of the Great Lakes Poll initiative here.


The election-year polling initiative, launched with a January 2020, pre-Iowa Caucus poll, will field three additional surveys in all four states to gauge voter sentiment through the November election. The next survey is anticipated in late spring, with two more surveys in the fall.

Survey Instrument

The survey instrument, fielded simultaneously in each of the four states, asks identical question sets, allowing faculty experts to compare and contrast public opinion in the four key Midwest states side-by-side, with a particular eye on clues that might explain why traditional bellwether Ohio has taken a turn to the right in recent years.


The surveys will be conducted among self-identified registered voters using an online panel with quotas in place for age, gender and education for each state based on data from the U.S. Census. In addition, each state will have quotas in place for urban areas based on U.S. Census data and the National Center for Health Statistics' Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties. Respondents will receive an email from Qualtrics, a national web panel provider, and respond using a personalized link to the survey. Each topline report will include a detailed section on methodology.

Collaborating Academic Experts and Media Contacts

Faculty experts from the collaborating institutions are available to analyze and comment on the overall results, as well as their specific areas of interest:

Lauren CopelandDr. Lauren Copeland
Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, Ohio)
Assistant professor of political science and associate director of the BW CRI, Copeland studies public opinion and political behavior. She is also editor of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics (JITP).
ANALYSIS FOCUS: Overall results, Ohio and Wisconsin; survey instrument design

Tom SuttonDr. Tom Sutton
Baldwin Wallace University (Berea, Ohio)
Professor of political science and director of the BW CRI, Sutton is a longtime political analyst and go-to media expert in Cleveland and beyond.
ANALYSIS FOCUS: Overall results, Ohio, Pennsylvania and questions about the BW Community Research Institute

Robert Alexander Dr. Robert Alexander
Ohio Northern University (Ada, Ohio)
Professor of political science, Alexander is also the author of four books, including "Representation and the Electoral College," published May 2019 by Oxford University Press.
ANALYSIS FOCUS: Overall results, Ohio and the electoral college

Terri Towner Dr. Terri Towner
Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan)
Professor of political science and author of "The Internet and the 2016 Presidential Campaign," Towner is also editor of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics (JITP).
ANALYSIS FOCUS: Overall results, Michigan and the role of social media

Dr. Aaron Montgomery, associate professor of mathematics at Baldwin Wallace, is also available to answer questions about methodology including weighting at

Journalists may email any of the faculty experts directly with written questions
or to arrange phone or in-person interviews. For help arranging interviews
or to request full res head shots, call or email:

Shawn Salamone
Director of Public Information
Baldwin Wallace University
440-826-2322 office | 440-829-0568 mobile