Poll: Ohioans dislike change in sales tax

By Marc Kovac



Ohioans aren’t too keen on Gov. John Kasich’s plan to levy sales taxes on services, but they’re open to his plan to expand medical benefits for the needy.

That’s according to poll numbers released Friday by the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which regularly gauges Ohioans’ views on candidates and issues.

Among 1,011 registered voters polled late last month, 48 percent think Kasich’s plan to lower income tax rates by levying new sales taxes is a bad idea, versus 42 percent who said the opposite.

But that same margin said expanding Medicaid eligibility is a good idea, even though most (48 percent-39 percent) disapprove of the federal Affordable Care Act, known informally as Obamacare.

The sales tax and Medicaid issues are prominent in the Statehouse budget debate, with some Republicans not convinced that either move is right for the state.

“Gov. John Kasich is popular, but voters don’t like his view that the income tax should be cut and the sales tax broadened as a preferable way to raise state revenue,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said.

“When it is explained to them that Kasich wants to cut the sales tax from 5.5 to 5 percent and increase the services that would be subject to the sales tax, they like that idea even less, 51-40 percent.”

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

Among other findings:

Ninety percent of respondents favored requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and 53 percent support a national ban on assault weapons.

Fifty-seven percent said gun ownership makes people safer, versus 33 percent who said the opposite. And 49 percent said the National Rifle Association “best reflects their views on guns,” compared with 40 percent who sided with President Barack Obama.

“On gun policy public opinion might be seen as a paradox,” Brown said. “Voters [overwhelmingly] favor background checks for those buying guns and want to ban assault weapons and ammunition clips with more than 10 bullets — positions that are in opposition to those espoused by the NRA.

Yet, they see the NRA more in tune with their views on gun policy than President Barack Obama, who favors background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

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