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Published: Friday, 4/19/2013

Portman's numbers drop among Republicans, latest poll shows


Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s switch to supporting same-sex marriage has cost him support among Republican voters, while improving his position with Democrats and independents, a new poll out today shows.

And President Barack Obama's approval ratings in Ohio have dropped.

The poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute showed that Mr. Portman’s approval rating slipped to 40 percent to 31 percent, down from 44 percent to 24 percent in a Feb. 28 survey.

Attributing his re-examination of the issue to his son’s disclosure two years ago that he is homosexual, Mr. Portman in March announced he would support marriage between two men or two women.

Republican approval dropped from 63 percent approving and 8 percent disapproving to 57 percent to 21 percent. Democratic approval went from a negative 26 percent to 36 percent to a negative 29 percent to 34 percent. Support among independent voters went from 47 percent to 23 percent to 43 percent to 35 percent.

According to the poll of 1,138 people, Ohio voters lean toward same-sex marriage by 48 percent to 44 percent, compared with a December Quinnipiac poll when 45 percent of voters supported it and 47 percent opposed. Women support same-sex marriage 52 percent to 40 percent, while men are opposed 49 percent to 43 percent, the poll found.

“Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on same-sex marriage has cost him a little support in his Republican base, but has little impact among Democrats and independent voters,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute. “The movement in his numbers has not been massive and the overall movement towards acceptance of same-sex marriage, which we see in Ohio and elsewhere, could help him in the long run, especially if he seeks reelection four years from now.”

President Obama’s approval rating in Ohio dipped to a negative 45–51 percent, compared with 48–47 percent in March and 54–42 percent last December.

On gun-control, 84 percent of Ohio voters, including 80 percent of voters in households with guns, support universal background checks for gun buyers.

By a narrow 51–43 percent majority, Ohio voters say all employers should be required to offer birth control as part of their benefit plans, regardless of religious or moral beliefs.

Voters also say 48–43 percent that increasing the number of people eligible for Medicaid is a good idea.

And by a substantial 63–30 percent majority, Ohio voters believe the economic benefits of drilling for natural gas and oil in the state outweigh environmental concerns.

Quinnipiac surveyed registered voters April 10-15, and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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