Patrick Murray, a Monmouth University pollster who has surveyed several presidential battleground states this year, said losing the football season could play a role in pushing Republican voters away from Mr. Trump this fall. He cited in particular the sliver of voters who had not yet made up their minds, and who were growing increasingly unwilling to accept all the disruptions caused by the failure to contain the coronavirus.
“It’s just one of those markers that reminds people of how much has been disrupted in their life,” Mr. Murray said.
Representative Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican who was a first-round N.F.L. draft pick after playing wide receiver at Ohio State, said college football players were likely to be safer from the coronavirus under the watch of their coaches than they would be at their homes away from campuses.
He predicted Ohio State fans in his northern Ohio district would blame university administrators and not Mr. Trump for losing the season. By calling for the season to take place, Mr. Trump is channeling not just his political base but a vast majority of voters, Mr. Gonzalez said.
“I can say, in my district, I think overwhelmingly people would support the statements that he made, and even people who aren’t supporters of his,” Mr. Gonzalez said. “If we polled it, I think probably 75 to 80 percent of people would agree with that sentiment that they should play. I feel pretty strongly about that.”
Yet Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat who has two master’s degrees from Ohio State, disagreed, saying that Mr. Trump will not be able to explain to voters why he’s not responsible.
“Everything that happens in this pandemic is on his watch,” Mr. Brown said Tuesday. “The unemployment’s on his watch, the canceled seasons are on his watch. I mean, all of this is on Trump’s watch, and he has so bungled this and he could point fingers and blame some elite somebody somewhere, but it’s on him.”