RNC Cleveland arena sign

A BW CRI survey finds a majority of Greater Cleveland residents are excited about the convention, but believe security should be the city's top priority.

NE Ohio Residents Excited about RNC, Rank Convention Security as Top Priority

March 21, 2016

RNC Cleveland arena signA Baldwin Wallace University (BW) survey finds a majority of Northeast Ohio residents are excited about the Republican National Convention (RNC) coming to Cleveland this July, but believe security must be the number one priority as city leaders prepare for the influx of visitors.

The BW Community Research Institute (CRI) poll also finds Northeast Ohioans are optimistic that the RNC will boost both the region’s economy (82% say it will help a little or a lot) and bolster perceptions of Cleveland (65% expect a positive impact). However, more than half will be steering clear of downtown during the time that delegates will gather for what could be contentious GOP nominating convention.

“The Convention is likely to bring upwards of 50,000 visitors to Northeast Ohio this summer, and while the region may benefit from some $200 million in direct spending, the event also raises a lot of security concerns,” said Lauren Copeland, associate director of the BW CRI. “Residents are also nervous about protests that may result from the growing anti-Trump movement and the possibility of a brokered convention.”

Ready to Show off New and Improved #CLE

RNC Cleveland LogoCleveland’s inferiority complex may be on display as a supermajority of NE Ohioans (69%) were ‘somewhat surprised’ or ‘very surprised’ that the RNC chose to have its convention in Cleveland in the first place.

“Being chosen to host the RNC moves Cleveland to the next level of national prominence, building on a steady upward trajectory of recognition of our economic, natural and social assets, as well as the importance of being a welcoming community,” said Tom Sutton, director of the BW CRI.

Regional BW-CRI Poll Details

The study of 530 registered voters in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Summit counties was conducted between March 2-9, 2016 using online panel data with quotas in place for gender and age (margin of error +/- 4 percentage points). Additional survey highlights include:

  • Northeast Ohioans recognize there is a lot of work needs to be done to get the city ready for the RNC. Here’s what they say the City of Cleveland should focus on the most:
    • Security (73%)
    • General ability to handle influx of visitors (63%)
    • Road improvements (41%)
    • Public transportation improvements (41%)
    • Making sure there is adequate lodging (34%)
    • Public Square improvements (19%)
    • Airport improvements (15%)
  • When asked to ranked the benefits of hosting the RNC, 68% of NE Ohioans put “Economic impact” at the top of the list, followed by (2) Attracting more visitors to Cleveland (47%); (3) Improving people’s perceptions of Cleveland (44%); (4) Attracting more business to Cleveland (34%); (5) Infrastructure improvements (28%); and (6) Job creation (22%)
  • What might make NE Ohioans more likely to go downtown during the RNC?
    • Discounted admissions to museums (34%)
    • Knowledge of what will be open (or closed) to the public (31%)
    • Free tours of downtown landmarks (28%)
    • Public festival (28%)
    • Restaurant and bar specials (27%)
    • Outdoor concerts (24%)
    • Live broadcasts of candidate speeches on large screens outside the ‘Q’ (17%)
    • Reduced fees for public transit (15%)

Additional analyses show that younger people would be more likely to take advantage of these incentives. However, in the open-ended comments, many respondents reported that nothing would make them more likely to go downtown during the RNC’s big event.


Access the full top line survey results here


About the BW Community Research Institute (CRI)

Founded in 2005 at Baldwin Wallace University (BW) in Berea, Ohio, the CRI conducts regional, statewide, and national surveys for government agencies, nonprofits, foundations, community-based organizations, businesses, and the media. CRI also offers BW students opportunities for mentored experience in social science research. Visit www.bw.edu/centers/community-research-institute.