Ohioans weigh in on variety of topics

By Marc Kovac



Ohio voters support background checks for gun purchases, birth control offered as part of employee health-care plans, fracking and an expansion of Medicaid.

But they’re not too keen on President Barack Obama, and some supporters of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman have changed their opinion.

That’s according to a new survey conducted by the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which regularly gauges Ohioans’ opinions on issues and candidates.

The institute questioned 1,138 registered voters over the past week on a variety of issues. Among respondents:

Eighty-four percent said they supported universal background checks for gun buyers. Half also said they believed the government would use information from such background checks to confiscate firearms.

Fifty-one percent said employers should be required to offer birth control as part of employees’ health-insurance coverage, regardless of religious objections.

Forty-eight percent said the state should expand Medicaid coverage, versus 43 percent who said the opposite.

Sixty-three percent said the economic benefits of horizontal hydraulic fracturing outweigh any environmental concerns.

President Obama’s approval rating took a dive in the latest poll, with 51 percent of respondents having a negative opinion of him. That compares with a 54 percent positive approval rating in December.

Portman’s job approval rating dropped to 40 percent, from 44 percent in February, after he announced his support for gay marriage. Thirty-one percent of respondents gave him a negative rating in the latest poll, compared to 24 percent during the February survey.

“Sen. Rob Portman’s reversal on same-sex marriage has cost him a little support in his Republican base, but has little impact among Democrats and independent voters,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a released statement. “The movement in his 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.”

The results have a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.

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