Poll: Ohioans overwhelmingly support the legalization of medical marijuana


By Marc Kovac

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Ohioans overwhelmingly support the legalization of medical marijuana, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Voters in the state who were questioned by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute were more split on recreational uses, however.

The results were similar in two other swing states that were part of a survey conducted over the past week by the Connecticut-based group.

The poll also showed voter support for President Barack Obama’s pick to fill a vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ohio voters are split on the coming U.S. Senate race, with incumbent Republican Rob Portman statistically tied with Democratic challenger Ted Strickland.

And, despite his failed presidential bid, Gov. John Kasich’s approval ratings remain high.

“Gov. Kasich’s job approval among Ohioans has slipped a bit from the low 60s to 58 percent, not surprising since running for president often does that to politicians who try to move up to higher office and fail,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Polling Institute, said in a released statement. “But he remains the most-popular politician in the state. Democrat Sen. [Sherrod] Brown’s 46 percent approval rating isn’t as good, but his name continues to pop up.”

Quinnipiac regularly gauges the opinions of Ohioans and voters in other swing states on issues and candidates. Its latest poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

More than half of voters questioned in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use – 52 percent in Ohio, 56 percent in Florida and 57 percent in Pennsylvania, versus 45 percent, 41 percent and 39 percent, respectively, who were opposed.

But 90 percent of Ohioans support the legalization of medical marijuana, along with 80 percent of Floridians. (Medical marijuana already is legal in Pennsylvania.)

In Ohio’s Senate race, Strickland was backed by 43 percent of those polled, with 42 percent supporting Portman.

“Republican Sen. Rob Portman might consider introducing himself to Ohioans,” Brown said. “He is locked in a neck-and-neck re-election fight in which 42 percent of voters say they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. In fact, Democratic opponent Ted Strickland, a former governor is somewhat better known than is he.”

Also, 47 percent of Ohio voters support Obama’s selection of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, versus 33 percent who opposed the nomination.

Fifty-six percent of Ohio voters said the U.S. Senate should consider the nomination.

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