Poll: Advantage Kerry in Ohio Race

But Bush and Kerry run about evenly, 44 percent to 42 percent, on honesty and trustworthiness, perhaps the most fundamental candidate quality; that compares to a nine-point Bush lead on honesty nationally. Ohioans are similarly evenly split on which candidate has the more appealing personality (45 percent to 44 percent); and it's dead even on who shares voters' values -- 47 percent pick Bush, 47 percent Kerry.

Kerry leads Bush on one attribute of the eight tested: When it comes to who "understands the problems of people like you," Ohio likely voters pick Kerry by 48 percent to 40 percent.

Candidate Attributes
Bush Kerry
Strong Religious Faith57% 24
Strong Leader54 39
Clear Stand on Issues52 38
Country Safer/More Secure5241
Appealing Personality4544
Understands Your Problems4048

On overall popularity, Ohioans divide on both men. Bush has a favorable-unfavorable rating of 50 percent to 45 percent; Kerry, 47 percent to 45 percent. Both are similar to their ratings nationally.

Same-Sex Marriage

Ohio's "Issue 1" would amend the state constitution to define marriage as only being between a man and a woman, and would prohibit legally recognized civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. As noted, likely voters are about evenly divided; 48 percent say they'd vote for it; 45 percent against.

The amendment is the main draw for few voters -- but in a close presidential race, a few can make the difference. Overall 4 percent of likely voters call the amendment the most important contest on the ballot -- much too small a group to reliably analyze their presidential preference. Among one of the target voter groups for this amendment -- white evangelical Protestants -- 7 percent say it's the main draw.

The amendment incites strong opinions on both sides, but slightly stronger on the support side. Thirty-nine percent of likely voters strongly support the amendment, while 32 percent strongly oppose it. Two-thirds of opponents of the amendment favor Kerry for president; about the same number of amendment supporters favor Bush.

Views on the amendment draw sharp lines across the electorate. Republicans, conservatives and evangelical white Protestants support it by about 40-point margins. White Catholics, key swing voters who supported Bush over Gore by seven points in Ohio in 2000, favor the amendment by a closer 51 percent to 41 percent.

Democrats are not as lopsided in their view; 54 percent of Democrats oppose the amendment, but 37 percent of Democrats support it. Independents oppose it by a very similar margin as Democrats, 54 percent to 41 percent.

Women and men divide about evenly on the proposal, with marital status a key factor. Married men and women alike support the amendment; unmarried men and women oppose it.

Same-Sex Marriage Amendment
Favor Oppose
Likely Voters48% 45
Democrat37 54
Republican66 28
White Evangelical Protestants6828
White Non-Evangelical Protestants4251
White Catholics5141
Married Women5437
Married Men4251
Unmarried Women3754
Unmarried Men4454

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