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Baldwin Wallace Poll Shows Ohioans Divided On Immigration, Agree on Guns

A new poll by Baldwin Wallace University sheds some light on how Ohioans are feeling about a range of issues from immigration and refugee resettlement to gun control and abortion. 

The survey was based on a sample of 1,361 Ohioans who were over age 18, and the results were weighted to approximate a cross-section of Ohioans by race and gender. 

When asked whether the U.S. has a responsibility to accept refugees, 60 percent of self-identified Democrats said yes, while 70 percent of Republicans said the country has no such obligation.

About 60 percent of Republicans surveyed also said that they believed refugees were taking U.S. jobs and were a “threat to the American way of life,” while an equal proportion of Democrats disagreed with those statements. 

“I think that probably reflects Trump’s policy positions on the border wall and on immigrants,” said Dr. Lauren Copeland, Associate Director of BW’s Community Research Institute. 

Copeland said Ohioans seem to feel the same about refugees as they do about immigrants in general.

During the 2018 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018) the number of refugees who resettled in Ohio was 1,408. The only states to resettle more refugees were Washington (1,544) and Texas (1,692), according to data from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center. 

A map showing the number of refugees resettled in various states during FY 2018, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. [Department of State Office of Admissions, Refugee Processing Center]

The Trump administration has capped the number of refugees who will be allowed into the U.S. during the 2019 fiscal year (which began in Oct. 2018) to 30,000. During the 2018 fiscal year (which ended in Sept. 2018), the U.S. admitted about 22,491, according to the Refugee Processing Center. 

That’s the lowest number of refugee admissions since 1977, when the number was 19,946. During the Obama administration, the number of refugee admissions hovered around 60,000 to 70,000.

U.S. Refugee Admissions: Fiscal Years 1975 through February 2019

[Department of State Office of Admissions,  Refugee Processing Center]

Common Ground on Some Gun Control Measures

A large majority of Democrats (81 percent) and Republicans (70 percent) support a statewide ban on the sale of guns to people who have been charged with domestic violence, according to the BW poll. Democrats and Republicans also find agreement on the idea of requiring mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases in Ohio.

“I think it just reflects the larger debate in the country and the salience of mass shootings in the media, unfortunately,” Copeland said.

Currently, several states have mandatory waiting periods for all gun purchases. Some range from a few days to as long as two weeks. Advocates for waiting period laws say they give law enforcement more time to conduct background checks and also allow “cooling off” periods which they argue prevent impulsive acts of violence, including suicide. 

The National Rifle Association disagrees and says waiting periods “only burden law-abiding gun owners.”

‘Heartbeat Bill’ Draws Mixed Support and Opposition

Opinions about the so-called ‘heartbeat bill,’ which recently passed the Ohio Senate fell mostly, although not completely, along party lines. 

A clear majority of Republicans surveyed said they favored the so-called “heartbeat bill” which criminalizes abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, but a third still opposed it. Copeland said the disagreement may reflect the “restrictive” nature of the bill which, does not include exceptions for cases of rape or incest.  

On the Democratic side, most opposed the measure, but about 1-in-4 were in favor of it. 

The heartbeat bill got a hearing in the House Tuesday. It passed the Ohio Senate earlier this month and is likely headed to Governor Mike DeWine, who has said he’ll sign it.

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