What will happen with Issue 1 tomorrow?

Posted on Aug 7, 2023

As we all know by now, tomorrow Ohioans will go to the polls and decide the fate of Issue 1 to change the way constitutional amendments are handled in Ohio.  In order to get a glimpse of what may happen, we’ll need to look at available polling information to try and get a picture of where things stand.

A late June poll found that 38% of voters supported Issue 1 and 37% of voters opposed it.  A mid July poll found 57.2% of voters oppose Issue 1 and only 26.2% oppose it.  A late July poll found a close split of 42.4% support to 41% oppose.

While one of these polls seems like an outlier, there are some similarities between these polls that can give us insight into what might happen.  First, there are still loads of undecideds going into election day.  Second, Republicans haven’t done enough to sell their own voters, let alone get Independents or Democrats to go along with them.  Neither of these bode well for supporters of Issue 1.

Let’s assume that opposition for Issue 1 isn’t already over 50%.  In that case, undecideds would have to break heavily in favor of issue 1 for it to pass.  This isn’t likely to happen. First of all, undecideds in issues like this tend to end up voting for the status quo.  Second, spending on this issue greatly favors opponents of Issue 1.  Finally, if Republicans are are barely getting across the finish line with their own voters, chances of them doing so with a mix of undecided voters that are likely more independent are pretty low.

At the end of the day, these polls may not mean anything.  Public polling has had a pretty bad track record over that last handful of election cycles.  Also, polling on ballot measures is a notoriously difficult thing to do.  But even if topline polling data isn’t accurate, certain trends that are found can be.  And if the trends in this group of polling are accurate, then it sure seems like Issue 1 will fail.