Poll: Ohioans aren't ready to embrace same-sex marriage, legalizing marijuana


COLUMBUS — While some other states recently approved same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana, a poll released today suggests Ohioans aren’t ready to follow.

The latest Quinnipiac Poll suggests more registered voters oppose same-sex marriage than support it in Ohio and are deadlocked when it comes to legalizing marijuana. Petitions are circulating in the state for proposed constitutional amendments to allow both to at least some degree.

“Ohioans’ views on legalizing the personal use of pot are slightly more conservative than the nation at large,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “A Quinnipiac University national poll released last week found support for legalizing marijuana at 51 to 44 percent.”

The latest Ohio poll suggested that 45 percent of registered voters support gay marriage while 47 percent oppose it. The results, however, suggest a softening of Ohioans’ position on the issue, having overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment eight years ago to ban gay marriage or anything approximating it.

The same voters are evenly split at 47 percent over the idea of legalizing marijuana. There are two competing proposals being pushed in Ohio that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes as Michigan has done.

Among the poll’s other findings:

— 57 percent of voters believe Ohio’s four new casinos, including Toledo’s Hollywood Casino, will be good for the state, but only 38 percent believe they will visit one.

— 52 percent support Gov. John Kasich’s proposal to increase the state’s severance tax on the extraction of shale natural gas and oil with support climbing to 62 percent when it’s linked with a cut in the personal income tax.

— 81 percent oppose changing how Ohio Supreme Court justices are selected. Talk of changing the system has re-emerged in the wake of last month’s upset of two highly rated incumbent justices with suggestions that the victors’ Irish-sounding names may have played a role in their wins.

“Four in five voters oppose the idea with virtually no difference along political or gender lines,” Mr. Brown said. “Simply put, this is an idea that is going nowhere with Ohio voters. Their views should not be surprising since in general voters want to decide things themselves rather than give politicians the power to decide for them.”