Voters in Ohio broadly support abortion access, a preliminary poll of poll results shows


On Tuesday in Ohio, voters went to the polls to decide whether to add abortion protections to the state constitution — and preliminary exit poll results indicate widespread support for abortion access.

Voters say 61% to 36% of voters say abortion should be legal rather than illegal in all or most cases, according to the initial exit poll.

By a roughly similar margin, 60% to 35%, voters say they were dissatisfied or even angry rather than satisfied or enthusiastic about the US Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down the constitutional right to abortion.

Early exit poll results indicated a less partisan margin in which voters trust the political parties more to handle the issue: Forty-nine percent choose the Democratic Party and 42 percent choose the Republican Party.

These preliminary results could change as more data emerges.

Photo: Voting at a polling place, November 7, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.

Voting at a polling place, on November 7, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio.

Andrew Spear/Getty Images

Ohio’s abortion referendum, known as State Issue 1, would add a right to the state constitution to “reproductive medical treatment” and prevent abortion bans before the fetus is viable or for the health of the mother.

The vote on the first issue is being closely watched to see whether dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion will fuel turnout among Democrats and Democratic-leaning groups. Preliminary results of exit polls point in this direction, indicating an abundance of liberals and a shortage of voters who supported former President Donald Trump.

Ohio liberals represent 35% of voters in Tuesday’s preliminary exit poll results, up from 20% in the 2022 midterms and 21% in the 2020 presidential election. If true, that would be a record turnout among liberals in exit polls from Ohio dating back to 1984. They support both referendums by large margins, 94-6% for abortion and 86-14% for marijuana.

In keeping with the larger turnout by liberals, the number of voters in the 2020 Trump election is relatively small. Voters said Tuesday that 46-43% of voters support Joe Biden over Trump in 2020. Trump won Ohio in that election by 53-45%.

Photo: First Amendment supporters attend a rally for the Reproductive Freedom Amendment held by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, October 8, 2023.

First Amendment supporters attend a rally for the Reproductive Freedom Amendment held by Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, October 8, 2023.

Joe Maiorana/AP, File

Moreover, turnout among Republicans, 35% of voters Tuesday in preliminary results, is down 6% compared to the 2022 midterms. That would be the lowest level since 2012. Republicans are widely opposed to both referendums in the preliminary results of exit polls.

Turnout among other groups of interest — women, young people, white evangelical Christians, and racial and ethnic minorities — is roughly on par with previous findings.

An overwhelming majority of young voters support both measures: Eighty-two percent of those ages 18 to 29 support an abortion referendum, and 87 percent support marijuana legalization in preliminary poll results.

On the other hand, white evangelical Christians represent 30% of Ohio voters, and they are particularly inclined to oppose both referendums: 76% oppose the abortion referendum and 70% oppose the marijuana measure.

Support for legal abortion in Ohio should come as no surprise: It was nearly as high, 58%, in the state’s 2022 exit poll.

Separately, exit polling indicates widespread dissatisfaction with the major candidates in the 2024 presidential election. 72% of voters said Tuesday they do not believe Biden should run for president. 64% say the same about Trump.

They disapprove of the way Biden is handling his job as president more than they approve, 58-40%. More also say they are worse off than better off financially than they were three years ago, 41% versus 22%, with the rest about the same.

The Republican Party outperforms the Democratic Party in confidence in dealing with the economy by 49-41%.

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