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Majority of Ohioans favor amendment protecting abortion rights, latest poll says




A small group of supporters of abortion rights gathering after the Supreme Court announced the reversal of Roe v. Wade confronts a counter protester, June 24, 2022, at the Ohio Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes)

The latest release from a Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted earlier this month indicates a strong majority of Ohioans support a reproductive rights amendment. Importantly, just as past polls have suggested, that backing falls at 58%, just short of the 60% threshold that could be necessary for passage if Issue 1 is approved by Ohio voters on Aug. 8.

How we got here

In the wake of the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade Ohio organizers got to work on an amendment that would establish a constitutional right to abortion access. Polling from Baldwin Wallace University that October indicated that idea might have a real shot. According to the findings, 59% of respondents backed the idea of a constitutional guarantee for abortion.

Shortly after the 2022 election, Republicans included Secretary of State Frank LaRose began working on what would eventually become Issue 1.

The central proposal of Issue 1 is to raise the threshold for passing constitutional amendments to 60% — just beyond the Baldwin Wallace survey’s findings. Initially lawmakers rejected any connection between the threshold proposal and abortion. They eventually acknowledged their effort was meant to undermine the reproductive rights proposal.

Whether the abortion rights amendment proposal makes the ballot will likely be settled Tuesday, when Secretary LaRose announces the results of organizers’ signature gathering efforts.

Latest findings

The connection between Issue 1 and the proposed reproductive rights amendment wasn’t lost on Suffolk’s respondents. University pollsters spoke with 500 likely voters in Ohio between July 9 and July 12. They report a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percentage points.

Suffolk’s poll found 57.6% of respondents favor the reproductive rights amendment. That’s nearly identical with the 57.2% who oppose Issue 1. The responses differed by just two people.

The two questions diverged, however, when it came to those who oppose the idea and those who remain undecided. For reproductive rights, 32.4% object to the proposal, while 10% haven’t made up their minds. Given the novelty of Issue 1, it’s perhaps unsurprising the share of undecided Ohioans takes up a larger share of respondents at 16.6%

In terms of the demographic breakdown, half of men and 64% of women support the abortion rights amendment. More men than women oppose the amendment or are undecided. Majorities in every region of the state save Southeast Ohio support the proposal as well.

Support and opposition follows the predictable partisan split, with Democrats in favor and Republicans against, but the margins are notable. More than 80% of Democrats back the idea while only 57% of Republicans oppose it. Independent voters support the abortion measure by a more than 3 to 1 margin.

Opponents of the abortion rights amendment lag supporters in every educational, income, and age bracket pollsters considered. A majority of gun owners and parents of school-aged children support the proposal. Notably, parents are more likely than non-parents to do so.

This story was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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