WKYC-TV, Kent State University Poll Finds Ohioans Support Marijuana for Public Use

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A Kent State University study, commissioned by WKYC-TV (the NBC affiliate in Cleveland owned by TEGNA), found that 58 percent of registered voters would support allowing adults in Ohio to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The results are plus-or-minus 4 percent and offer a glimpse into what Ohio voters are weighing with Issues 2 and 3, both on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Issue 2 would prohibit using the Ohio Constitution to grant a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel for their exclusive financial benefit or to establish a preferential tax status, while Issue 3 would legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use.

Kent State’s Survey Research Lab and experts from the Department of Sociology and Department of Political Science in Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences recently fielded a survey of 500 registered voters in Ohio regarding both issues.   

“We felt it was important to get a pulse on how people throughout the state are feeling before these issues go to the ballot,” said WKYC President and General Manager Micki Byrnes. “We knew that partnering with Kent State University’s Department of Sociology and Department of Political Science would provide us a fair and balanced look at what have become fairly controversial issues for all voters in the state of Ohio.”

The poll also found:

  • 84 percent of Ohioans indicated they would “support allowing adults in Ohio to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it”
  • 54 percent plan to vote “yes” on Issue 2 while 26 percent were undecided
  • 56 percent plan to vote “yes” on Issue 3 while 10 percent were undecided

“If the election were held today and nearly all registered voters participated, both Issue 2 and Issue 3 would likely pass leading to a constitutional crisis,” said Ryan Claassen, associate professor in Kent State’s Department of Political Science. “However, we know that only a fraction of eligible voters show up in odd year elections, far fewer than show up in presidential elections. Young people and democrats are more likely to stay home.  Because age and being a republican are associated with lower support for Issue 3, the vote on Issue 3 will almost certainly be lower than the 56 percent support we find in the poll.  On the other hand, age and party affiliation are only weakly associated with support for Issue 2, so the numbers for Issue 2 might actually improve in a low turnout election.  I would say the prospect for both are almost too close to call right now and that low turnout will almost certainly help Issue 2 and hurt Issue 3.”

“This is the first Ohio poll to specifically address how Ohioians will vote on issues 2 and 3,” said Gregory Gibson, Ph.D., Director of the Survey Research Lab which collected the polling data within 48 hours.  

“It was surprising to see that a majority of Ohio voters know that issue 3 is related to legalizing marijuana suggesting that Responsible Ohio’s information campaign appears to be working,”said Anthony Vander Horst, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. 

The entire WKYC-Kent State poll can be viewed at www.wkyc.com.

For more information about Kent State’s Department of Sociology, visit www.kent.edu/sociology

For more information about Kent State’s Department of Political Science, visit www.kent.edu/polisci.

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About Kent State University
Kent State University is Northeast Ohio’s leading public research university with more than 41,000 students. The university’s eight-campus system is among the largest regional systems in the country. Today, Kent State has become an engine for economic, cultural and workforce development – locally and internationally – as one of the premier Ohio universities. The university is ranked among the nation’s top 74 public high-research universities and among the top 76 in community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information about Kent State, visit www.kent.edu

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Media Contacts:
Terry Moir, WKYC, tmoir@wkyc.com, 216-344-3333
Eric Mansfield, Kent State University, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797