Quinnipiac poll: Ohioans support gay marriage

Akron Beacon Journal – April 19, 2013

Ohioans now support gay marriage by a slim margin, though Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman saw his approval rating dip because of his reversal on the hot-button issue last month.

According to a survey released this morning by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, more Ohioans support same-sex marriage than don’t by a margin of 48 percent to 44 percent. Results follow a Saperstein Poll for The Dispatch from last month which showed that 54 percent backed a proposed new Ohio constitutional amendment to repeal existing law and allow gay marriage.

Portman announced in March that he had reversed his position and now supported same-sex marriage because his son was gay. Forty percent said they approve of Portman’s job performance compared with 31 percent who said they disapprove; in February his approval rating was 44 percent and disapproval number was 24 percent.

In December 47 percent of Ohioans opposed gay marriage and 45 percent supported it. And since Portman’s announcement, the number of Republicans who disapprove of his job as senator jumped by 13 percentage points, while 41 percent of GOP voters polled said they think less favorably of the junior Republican senator from suburban Cincinnati.

Women in Ohio support gay marriage 52 to 40 percent, while men opposed it 49 to 43 percent.

The movement in (Portman’s) numbers has not been massive and the overall movement towards acceptance of same-sex marriage, which we see in Ohio and elsewhere, could help him in the long run, especially if he seeks reelection four years from now, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s job approval in Ohio has plummeted, and now 45 percent approve compared with 51 percent who disapprove. He held a 48 to 47 percent approval/disapproval rating in March and in December he had a 54 percent approval rating.

An overwhelming number (80 percent) said they support universal background checks for gun buyers and 52 percent said they are more likely to vote for a congressman who voted for background checks. Such a vote came up in the Senate this week, with Portman aligning himself with the senators who defeated expanding background checks to cover more gun transactions.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown voted for the measure. Coincidentally, 47 percent approve of his job as senator and 38 percent said they disapprove.

Ohioans also approve of expanding Medicaid– a proposal being pushed by Gov. John Kasich that was thwarted by the GOP-controlled Ohio House– by a 48 to 43 percent margin.

The live telephone survey by the Connecticut university of 1,138 registered Ohio voters from April 10 through Monday has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points. It included both landlines and cellphones.