Poll suggests Ohio voters not likely to back gay marriage

12/13/2012
BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS — Although 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 in Ohio oppose same-sex marriage than support it and they are deadlocked on the issue of 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 45 percent of registered voters support gay marriage and 47 percent oppose it. The results, however, suggest a softening of Ohioans’ position on the issue.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment eight years ago to ban gay marriage or anything approximating it.

Two competing proposals are being pushed in Ohio to legalize 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 Hollywood Casino Toledo, 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 the way 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.

Suggestions have surfaced 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.”

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.