Survey | The 2013 Ohio Values Survey: Ohio Voters Strongly Support Employment Nondiscrimination Laws for Gay and Lesbian People, Slim Majority Oppose Amending Ohio Constitution to Allow Same-sex Couples to Marry
Two issues top Ohio voters’ list of the most critical issues facing the state: jobs and unemployment, and the cost of health care. Roughly two-thirds of Ohio voters report that unemployment (68%) and the cost of health care (66%) are critical issues facing Ohio.
- A majority (55%) of Ohio voters also report that the cost of education is a critical issue. Fewer voters cite the issue of immigration (30%) or same-sex marriage (24%) as critical issues. Nearly half (49%) of Ohio voters say that the issue of same-sex marriage is not that important compared to other issues.
Ohio voters strongly support laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against job discrimination. Nearly 7-in-10 (68%) Ohio voters favor laws protecting gay and lesbian people against job discrimination, compared to one-quarter (25%) who oppose such a policy. Solid majorities of voters in both political parties and in every major religious group support workplace nondiscrimination laws for gay and lesbian people.
- Majorities of Ohio Republican voters (61%), independent voters (67%) and Democratic voters (75%) favor laws protecting gay and lesbian people against employment discrimination. Ohio Tea Party voters are the notable exception; Tea Party voters are divided (45% favor, 45% oppose).
- A majority of white evangelical voters (56%), approximately 7-in-10 white mainline Protestant voters (69%), Catholic voters (69%), and minority Protestant voters (72%), and nearly 8-in-10 (79%) religiously unaffiliated voters favor laws protecting gay and lesbian people against job discrimination.
The vast majority of Ohio voters incorrectly believe it is currently illegal under Ohio and federal law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in a range of areas. At least 8-in-10 Ohio voters think, incorrectly, that it is currently illegal under Ohio law (84%) and under federal law (80%) to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Similar numbers think that it is currently illegal in Ohio to refuse to rent an apartment or house to someone (81%) or to refuse to provide someone with a business service (78%) because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Ohio voters are evenly divided in their views on same-sex marriage. Forty-seven percent of voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, compared to an equal number (47%) who are opposed. Support is essentially unchanged since the 2012 presidential election, when PRRI post-election polling found Ohio voters evenly divided on the legality of same-sex marriage (45% favored, 46% opposed).
While Ohio voters are evenly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage when presented a binary choice, when voters are offered a three-way choice between marriage, civil unions, and no legal recognition, a more nuanced picture emerges. When presented a three-way question, 41% of Ohio voters support allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, 23% say same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry, and 30% say there should be no legal recognition of a same-sex couple’s relationship.
A slim majority of Ohio voters oppose amending Ohio’s constitution to allow same-sex marriage. If the election were held today, less than half (45%) of Ohio voters report that they would support a ballot measure to amend Ohio’s constitution to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. A slim majority (51%) of Ohio voters say they would oppose such an amendment.
- If the election were held today, six-in-ten (61%) Ohio Democratic voters would support amending Ohio’s constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry legally, while independents are equally divided (47% favor, 48% oppose), and Ohio Republican voters are strongly opposed (24% favor, 73% oppose).
- Seven-in-ten (70%) religiously unaffiliated voters support amending the constitution to allow same-sex marriage, but there is no major religious group in which a majority of voters support amending Ohio’s constitution. White mainline Protestants (45% favor, 50% oppose) and Catholics (46% favor, 51% oppose) are closely divided, but with a plurality or slim majority of each group opposing the amendment. A majority (53%) of minority Protestant voters and three-quarters (75%) of white evangelical Protestant voters oppose amending the state constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry.
- Younger and older voters are near mirror images of one another in their support for a constitutional amendment. Six-in-ten (59%) Ohio voters under the age of 50 favor amending the Ohio constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry legally, compared to 38% who are opposed. Among Ohio voters age 50 or older, 63% oppose amending the state’s constitution to legalize same-sex marriage, compared to 33% who would support it.
Ohio voters oppose taking away collective bargaining rights for public unions. Fewer than 3-in-10 (28%) Ohio voters say they would support a law in their state taking away some collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions, including state teachers unions. More than 6-in-10 (62%) voters report that they oppose such a law.
Ohio voters support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. More than 6-in-10 (61%) Ohio voters support allowing immigrants currently living in the U.S. illegally an opportunity to become citizens provided they meet certain requirements. Roughly 1-in-10 (12%) say immigrants living in the U.S. illegally should be allowed to become permanent residents but not citizens, while about 1-in-4 (23%) say that these immigrants should be identified and deported.
Ohio voters are divided on the issue of abortion. Forty-seven percent of Ohio voters believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 45% of voters who say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.
The survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute. Results of the survey were based on telephone interviews conducted between August 8, 2013 and August 15, 2013, among a random sample of 1,001 adults, including 883 registered voters, 18 years of age or older currently living in the state of Ohio (401 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The survey was made possible by a generous grant from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. The margin of error for the entire sample is +/‐ 3.7 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval. The margin of error for the registered voter subsample is +/- 3.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence interval.▶ Read the full report here. ▶ Read the topline questionnaire, including the survey methodology, here. ▶ Read the Ohio Values Survey release here.