Polling results on a controversial amendment such as this one can be sensitive to how the question is asked. A University of Cincinnati poll last month, which found 2-1 support for the amendment, first asked likely voters if they were aware of the "Marriage Protection Act," and then read them the full text of the ballot language: "Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid or recognized by Ohio and its political subdivisions. Ohio and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage."
This ABC News poll, by contrast, summarized: "There's a proposed amendment to the Ohio constitution that would define marriage as being only between a man and a woman, and that would prohibit legally recognized civil unions for gay and lesbian couples."
Both presidential candidates are strong in their core groups: Kerry loses 9 percent of Democrats to Bush, Bush loses the same number of Republicans to Kerry.
In the two key swing voter groups, independents divide by 52 percent to 44 percent, and white Catholics by a closer 49 percent to 50 percent, Kerry-Bush. Union voters may be another key: Voters in union households favor Kerry by 27 points, and they made up 36 percent of the Ohio electorate in 2000.
Regionally, Bush has double-digit leads in the northwestern (including Toledo) and southwestern (including Cincinnati) areas of the state. Kerry has a 43-point lead in Cleveland, and a 14-point lead in the northeast. Central Ohio splits about evenly.
Men are worth watching: They divide by 51 percent to 46 percent, Bush-Kerry; in 2000, by contrast, Bush beat Gore by 18 points among men. Kerry currently holds a 10-point lead among women; Gore won them by 53 percent to 45 percent in 2000.
As noted, Republican Sen. George Voinovich holds a commanding lead over Democratic challenger Eric Fingerhut, 60 percent to 35 percent. Voinovich leads across almost all demographic groups; only among Democrats, non-whites, liberals and those who pick health care as their top issue do majorities favor Fingerhut. Indeed, Voinovich is supported by a sizable 26 percent of Democrats, and he leads in all regions of the state but Cleveland.
There's significant crossover voting between the Senate and presidential races: Twenty-seven percent of Voinovich's supporters prefer Kerry for president.
This ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 14-17 among a random sample of 1,027 registered voters in Ohio, including 789 likely voters. The results have a 3.5-point error margin for the likely voter sample. Sampling, data collection and tabulation conducted by TNS of Horsham, Pa.
See previous analyses in our Poll Vault.