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Published: Friday, 5/16/2014

QUINNIPIAC POLL

Ohio voters split on gay marriage in latest poll

Strongly oppose unionization of college athletes

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS--Despite recent court rulings and talk of a ballot issues, Ohio voters' opinion of same-sex marriage is virtually unchanged since they were last asked that question by the Quinnipiac Poll in February.

The latest poll released today shows that exactly half of registered voters believe gay couples should be allowed to marry in Ohio while 43 percent oppose it. Support is the same as shown in a February poll while opposition has declined only slightly from 44 percent.

“The future of same-sex marriage in Ohio is now before the courts, but if it were up to voters, the issue would be close to a toss-up, with support just hitting 50 percent,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Poll.“There is a direct correlation between age and views of gay marriage, and the partisan split is stark with Democrats strongly in favor and Republicans adamantly opposed."

The poll of 1,174 registered voters was conducted between May 7 and 12.

The results on the gay marriage question were just outside the margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, but the still divided electorate underscores the dispute between gay-rights activists about when would be a good time to go back to Ohio voters and ask them to reverse their 2004 decision to write a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution.

Recent federal court rulings, on hold pending appeal, have ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages that have been legally performed outside Ohio, despite the state's own constitutional ban. Meanwhile, there are tentative plans to put a new constitutional amendment on the ballot allowing such marriages in either 2015 or 2016.

Meanwhile, the same poll showed voters are strongly opposed to the notion that college athletes should be allowed to unionize, a reaction to a recent National Labor Relations Board decision finding that Northwestern University football players who make money for the school may consider joining a union to negotiate their rights.

By a margin of 55 percent to 38 percent, voters in Ohio reject the idea. The gap widened from 62 percent to 32 percent when it comes to the idea of paying athletes salaries.

“Ohioans may love their Buckeyes, and they have a favorable view of unions, but they don’t think the two should meet,” Mr. Brown said. “Only Democrats and voters under 35 favor allowing college athletes to unionize. But not even they support the idea of college athletes receiving salaries in addition to the value of their scholarships. A majority think colleges are losing sight of their academic mission with the emphasis on athletics, but don’t expect any empty seats in the Horseshoe in the fall.”



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