TO: State Policy Makers and Other Interested Persons
FROM: John R. Corlett, Co-Chair, Campaign to Protect Ohio’s Future
Gayle Channing-Tenenbaum, Co-Chair, Campaign to Protect Ohio’s Future
RE: Results of New Ohio Budget Poll
DATE: May 7, 2007
69% of Ohioans are currently favorable to the Governor, compared to only 16% who are
Among Ohioans who are aware of the Governor’s budget proposal, 72% support the
budget, while 21% oppose it.
Ohioans show extremely strong support for key elements of the Governor’s budget,
particularly the Governor’s health care initiatives.
o 92% support helping uninsured Ohio residents find affordable private insurance
o 90% support offering health coverage to uninsured Ohio children;
o 90% support expanding PASSPORT, the program to help seniors receive in-home
care when possible, rather than moving into a nursing home.
More than 4-in-5 Ohioans back the Governor’s education proposals, as well.
o 87% support the Governor’s increased funding for local schools.
o 80% support expanding access to childhood education programs.
The Campaign to Protect Ohio’s Future commissioned the Benenson Strategy Group to conduct
a poll of Ohio voters on their views of the pending state budget which was recently adopted by
the Ohio House of Representatives and which is now being considered by the Ohio Senate. Our
goal was to gain an understanding of how Ohioans viewed Governor Ted Strickland, whether
they felt the state was headed in the right direction, and to ascertain support for certain key
elements of the budget proposal.
In general we found Ohio voters positive about the state, the governor, and the state’s future.
Governor Ted Strickland has an overall favorable rating of 69%, an unfavorable rating of 16%,
and 15% saying that they were unfamiliar or didn’t know. The governor’s favorability numbers
are fairly broad with 70% of independents rating him favorably, 75% of voters over the age of
65, 68% of suburban voters, and even 57% of conservative voters.
When respondents were asked, “compared with this time last year, would you say you are more
optimistic or more pessimistic about the future of Ohio,” 60% answered optimistic while 30%
were pessimistic. When focused the question on the economy and asked “compared with last
year, would you say you are more optimistic or more pessimistic about Ohio’s economy,” 55%
answered optimistic while 37% were pessimistic. When we asked voters if Ohio was moving in
the right direction or was off on the wrong track 41% answered right direction, 35% answered
wrong track and 24% said they didn’t know.
We also asked each respondent to indicate what three issues or problems they thought were
the most important ones for the Governor and Legislature to focus on. The top issue was
education/quality of education at 37%, the second was the economy/jobs at 31% and the third
was health care/not enough health care at 13%.
We asked respondents to think about the economy and to choose from a short list of items that
they were personally worried about the most. Thirty-two percent of them chose “health care
costs.” This was the top rated answer of older voters, rural residents and men between the
ages of 18-39. The second highest answer was high taxes, which was chosen by 19%.
Republicans, Blackwell voters, and those with an unfavorable opinion of Ted Strickland were
more likely to choose high taxes as a response. The third highest answer was a virtual tie
between having a secure retirement and college tuition costs.
We then asked voters about a series of state budget proposals and asked them to rank whether
or not they should be a top priority for state spending, a high priority, a low priority or not a
priority at all.
Question Priority Top High Low Not
Priority Priority Priority Priority
Providing access to health care for all of Ohio's 87% 43% 44% 10% 2%
Keeping tuition at state colleges and 82% 30% 52% 14% 3%
Funding for long term care for the elderly and 80% 32% 49% 17% 1%
Increasing Aid to local school districts. 76% 34% 42% 18% 5%
Offering early care and education for young 73% 25% 48% 22% 4%
Reducing property taxes for seniors and 72% 27% 45% 24% 3%
persons with disabilities.
Providing tax breaks and credits for businesses. 41% 14% 27% 45% 11%
Maintaining a substantial Rainy Day fund. 39% 12% 27% 45% 10%
On some of these questions where support was very high (e.g. healthcare for all Ohio’s
children) there is little difference between groups of voters – the proposal is popular across the
board. With other questions there were some differences, for example in terms of “increasing
aid to local school districts,” independent voters, rural voters, and Cleveland area voters were
slightly more likely to name it as a priority. The only groups of voters where support for
maintaining a substantial rainy day fund rose over 50% were voters over the age of 60. In terms
of support for higher education, this was particularly strong in the Cincinnati area, women
voters, those with higher incomes and those who classified themselves as liberals. Republican
voters, Blackwell voters, and males over the age of 60 were the only groups of voters where
support for tax breaks and credits for business rose over 50%. On the question or reducing
property taxes for seniors and persons with disabilities support was strongest in the Cincinnati
area, among Democrats, those over the age of 65 and those with a high school diploma or less.
Finally in terms of funding for long term care this priority was particularly strong in the Cincinnati
area, among women, minority voters, voters over the age of 65, and voters with annual incomes
We asked voters whether they had heard about Governor Strickland’s budget proposal and not
surprisingly nearly two-thirds of voters (60%) said they had heard not much or nothing at all and
only 39% said they had heard a great deal or something about it. Among those voters who had
heard a great deal or something about the budget, support for the Governor’s budget proposal is
strong (72%). When asked “what have you heard about Governor Strickland’s budget proposal,”
the most common responses related to cuts in school choice/vouchers, freezes tuition, more
money for K-12 education and lowers property taxes.
We then tested some elements of the Governor’s budget proposal:
Question Support Strongly Somewhat Somewhat Strongly
Support Support Oppose Oppose
Creating a new program to help uninsured Ohio 92% 46% 45% 4% 3%
residents find affordable private insurance.
Would you say you strongly support this
proposal, somewhat support it, somewhat
oppose it, or strongly oppose it?
Enforcing new accountability standards in every 92% 75% 17% 5% 2%
area of the state government to ensure that all
state spending is done efficiently and provides a
real service to Ohioans.
Offering health insurance to every child in Ohio? 90% 72% 18% 4% 5%
Giving more seniors the choice to stay in their 90% 64% 26% 3% 1%
own homes to receive health care whenever
possible, rather than going into a nursing home
Providing local governments with more stable 88% 57% 31% 6% 5%
funding from the state to provide key services,
such as police, fire protection, and libraries.
Question Support Strongly Somewhat Somewhat Strongly
Support Support Oppose Oppose
Increasing K through 12 education funding by 87% 50% 37% 4% 6%
more than 400 million dollars over the next two
years and focusing new spending on the districts
most in need.
Increasing higher education spending in order to 83% 42% 41% 14% 10%
freeze tuition for 2008 and hold increases to 3%
or less for 2009.
Expanding access to early childhood education 80% 48% 32% 9% 9%
Stopping the practice of contracting out 74% 52% 22% 11% 11%
government services to private companies when
the service can be done by the state government
for less money.
Using funds from the state's tobacco settlement 71% 53% 18% 11% 12%
fund to reduce property taxes for seniors and the
disabled, and pay for new school construction.
Applying the state's sales tax to cars bought in 71% 45% 26% 15% 7%
Ohio by residents of other states.
Prohibiting the shipment of untaxed cigarettes 67% 46% 21% 8% 21%
into the state.
Placing a freeze on the creation of new private 66% 35% 30% 10% 17%
charter schools, and prohibiting for-profit
companies from managing charter schools.
Providing no funding to investigate and resolve 38% 21% 17% 22% 33%
elder abuse claims.
Eliminating state funding for free medical clinics. 33% 16% 17% 28% 35%
Although there was broad support for key elements of the Governor’s budget proposal there
wasn’t universal support for all of its elements. Voters opposed the Governor’s proposal to
provide no funding to investigate and resolve elder abuse claims and similarly they opposed his
proposal to eliminate state funding for free medical clinics (the Ohio House passed budget
restored $125,000 of the $325,000 free clinic line item within the Ohio Department of Health).
We followed by asking voters whether they strongly supported the Governor’s budget proposal,
somewhat supported it, somewhat opposed it, or strongly opposed the Governor’s budget.
Overall support was 83% with 32% strongly supporting and 51% somewhat supporting. 13%
oppose the Governor’s budget with 10% somewhat opposing and 3% strongly opposing.
We finished the survey by asking “if your state legislator supported Governor Strickland’s budget
proposal, would that make your more favorable to your state legislator, somewhat more
favorable, somewhat less favorable or much less favorable. 70% of respondents answered if
their legislator supported the Governor’s budget they would be more favorable to their state
legislator (even a narrow majority of Blackwell voters would be more favorable).
The Benenson Strategy Group conducted 702 telephone interviews in Ohio between April 24-
26, 2007. All respondents were registered voters in Ohio. The margin of error for the entire data
set is 3.70% for the entire sample at the 95% confidence level. It is higher among subgroups.