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Ohio's abortion, marijuana statewide issues enjoy broad support, Ohio Pulse Poll shows

An American flag waves in the breeze next to a sign directing Ohioans to vote inside Tharp Sixth Grade School, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Hilliard, Ohio.
Samantha Hendrickson
Ohioans will vote on two statewide issues on Nov. 7. A new poll indicates both enjoy widespread support.

A new Baldwin Wallace University poll shows a majority of Ohioans support Issue 1, a reproductive rights amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio constitution, and Issue 2, a statute that would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for Ohioans 21 and older.

Ohioans will vote on these issues and a myriad of local races and issues on Nov. 7.

Results of the Ohio Pulse Poll, released Wednesday, indicate more than 58% of respondents support Issue 1. More than 33% said they opposed the amendment and more than 8% were undecided.

Views on Issue 1 are divided among political and racial lines, with nearly 90% of Democrats and 51% of Independents supporting the measure, according to the poll. A majority of Republicans, more than 52%, oppose the issue.

The results shows support for the amendment differs by race. More than 82% of Black respondents support the amendment, compared to slightly more than 55% of white people.

Despite those differences, the poll indicates the amendment enjoys widespread support among many groups of voters. A majority of men, women, younger and older voters, gun owners, parents, people who live in urban and suburban areas, people with four-year college degrees and those without them told pollsters they support the amendment.

This widespread support may be due to how the amendment is written, Community Research Institute Director Tom Sutton said.

"I think that's another piece to why this 58% number is there," Sutton said, "because it wasn't just protecting access to abortion but also contraception, fertility treatments and dealing with related issues such as miscarriage."

Only in three groups did a majority of respondents say they opposed the amendment: people who identified as Republicans, held a conservative ideology or were Evangelicals.

Pollsters at the BW Community Research Institute, between Oct. 9 and 11, asked 850 registered voters their opinions on statewide issues and national politicians on the state's Nov. 7 ballot, according to the poll's methodology.

On Issue 2, the marijuana legalization measure, the poll found 57.4% in favor, 35.1% against and 7.5% undecided.

Issue 2 also enjoys support across a wide variety of groups, according to the poll. A majority of men and women, people with a four-year college degree and those without, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, and those who live in rural, urban and suburban areas support the issue.

Some groups expressed especially strong support for the measure. More than 70% of respondents who are parents, Black, hold a liberal ideology or are ages 18 to 49 support the measure.

The only group where a majority of respondents oppose Issue 2 was among those who hold a conservative ideology. Even among Evangelical respondents, opinion was split with about 46% saying they support the measure and 46% voicing opposition, according to the poll.

The poll results show that Ohioans want to protect their freedoms, Sutton said.

"Ohioans want their rights protected," Sutton said. "That doesn't necessarily correlate with who they vote for as candidates."

Ohioans voted down Republican's attempt to block the abortion amendment from passing in August, which would have upped the threshold to pass a constitutional amendment from a simple majority to 60%.

"They’re also straight shooters," Sutton said, "and they are not happy when the legislature tries to play shenanigans as they did with the issue in August.”

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they were certain to vote in November, and 18% said they would probably vote. The state issues on the ballot could push high voter turnout, Sutton said.

"I think we'll be looking at somewhere in the 35 to 40% range for turnout, which doesn't sound like a lot," Sutton said, "but usually it's around 25 to 30 for a local election."'

Updated: October 18, 2023 at 5:09 PM EDT
This story has been updated.
Stephanie is the deputy editor of news at Ideastream Public Media.
Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.