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SPOTLIGHT: Your 2021 voter guide to Cincinnati's races for mayor, City Council, school board and more ahead of Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 2. >>
0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Top GOP Pollster to Ohio Delegates: If You Leave Here Divided, We Have No Chance At This


CLEVELAND – Everyone in the room at the Ohio delegation breakfast Tuesday morning was more than familiar with Frank Luntz, one of the top Republican pollsters in the country and a frequent "talking head" on the Fox News Network.

So they listened intently as Luntz, after starting his speech with 20 minutes of jokes aimed a Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, got serious about his message.

"If you leave here divided," Luntz said to the delegates, all of whom are pledged to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and not Donald Trump, then we have no shot at this."

"I want you to understand,'' Luntz said. "You, Ohio, hold the fate of our country in your hands."

Luntz said he has done many focus groups with voters in Ohio, including one recently in Cleveland, and said he has found Ohio voters to be unique.

"Your voters here in Ohio know about the issues, about the candidates, because Ohioans know instinctively they are going to be a swing state,'' Luntz said.

Luntz said that his polling among 18 to 29 year olds showed that 58 percent of them favor socialism over  capitalism.

"And you are not only losing among millennials; you have lost them,'' Luntz said. "And it's going to be almost impossible to bring them back."

Luntz was the guest of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, who hosted the Tuesday morning breakfast for the Ohio delegation. Wednesday morning, they are scheduled to hear from a big-name Republican – House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Tuesday morning, the pollster told the Ohioans that he is "frustrated with how Republicans communicate."

"Why can't we just get up and talk from our hearts?," Luntz said. "We're really not very good at reading off of teleprompters."

He said Republicans generally need to connect with ordinary people and their needs. He pointed to a hotel worker who was helping serve breakfast.

"Sir, what issues concern you the most?,"' Luntz said. The man replied that he is worried about national security, about jobs and health care.

"See?,'' Luntz said. "All we have to do is ask people. There is a reason why people don't like politicians. They are always telling you what they think, and not listening to people."