Policy & Politics

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Ohioans Weigh in on State Policy Issues

Published May. 8, 2009

Cincinnati, OH--The latest Ohio Poll included questions regarding a series of policy proposals being discussed across the country. While majorities of Ohioans favor making casino-style gambling legal in Ohio and allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal marijuana, other proposals met opposition.

These findings are based on the latest Ohio Poll, conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. The Ohio Poll is sponsored by the University of Cincinnati. The Poll was conducted between April 16 and April 27, 2009.

The latest Ohio Poll asked state residents whether they would like to see Ohio adopt six social and economic policy proposals currently being discussed nationally and in other states. These proposals include allowing doctors to prescribe medicinal marijuana, legalizing casino-style gambling, lowering Ohio’s drinking age, abolishing the death penalty, making marijuana use legal, and legalizing gay marriage.

OHIOANS FAVOR MEDICINAL MARIJUANA, CASINO-STYLE GAMBLING . . .

Two proposals being discussed around the nation: 1) allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes to treat their patients and 2) allowing casino-style gambling are favored by a majority of Ohioans.

Overall, 73 percent of Ohioans say they favor (either “strongly” or “somewhat”) allowing Ohio doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, while 27 percent oppose.

Sixty percent favor making casino-style gambling legal in Ohio, 38 percent oppose.

. . . BUT OPPOSE OTHER POLICY OPTIONS

Majorities oppose (either “strongly” or “somewhat”) four other policy proposals presented in the Poll:
• Seventy-eight percent of Ohioans oppose lowering the drinking age in Ohio from 21 to 18;
• Seventy percent oppose abolishing Ohio’s death penalty;
• Sixty-one percent oppose making marijuana use legal in Ohio; and
• Fifty-seven percent oppose legalizing gay marriage or marriage between same sex couples in Ohio.

OHIOANS AND GAMBLING

The most recent Ohio Poll also included additional questions about gambling last asked in 1998. The Ohio Poll finds the results of these questions have not changed markedly since 1998. Fifty-eight percent of Ohio adults say they would approve of gambling casinos being permitted to operate in the large Ohio City where they live or near to where they live. An additional 41 percent disapprove and one percent don’t know.

In September 1998, 54 percent approved of gambling casinos being permitted to operate in the large Ohio City where they live or near to where they live.

The Ohio Poll also found that the percentage of Ohioans who travel to other states has not changed a great deal over the last decade. In the latest Ohio Poll, 23 percent of Ohioans say they have traveled to another state for the purpose of gambling at a casino during the past year. In the September 1998 Ohio Poll, 19 percent said they had traveled to another state in order to gamble at a casino.
Indiana (7%) was most frequently identified by Ohio gamblers as their destination on their most recent out-of-state gambling trip. An additional six percent traveled to West Virginia, followed by Nevada (3%), Pennsylvania (2%), Michigan (2%) or some other state (2%). Indiana was also the most frequently identified gambling destination in the September 1998 Ohio Poll.

While the Ohio Poll has found in the past that a majority of Ohio adults approve of casino gambling in major cities near their home, the Poll has also found Election Day voters unwilling to approve ballot issues that would lead to the legalization of gambling in the state. This has been reflected in Election Day outcomes over the past decade.

As a result, the current Ohio Poll should not be considered to be a definitive reflection on the passage or failure of any future specific gambling-related ballot issues. The Ohio Poll results are, however, instructive on the opinions and behaviors of all Ohioans, both those who vote and those who do not.

To read about the Ohio Poll Methodology, click here and go to page 3.



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