Columbus -- Ohioans are supportive of Gov. John Kasich's plan to increase taxes on oil and gas production and use the proceeds to implement a corresponding income tax cut, according to new poll numbers released Dec. 12.
A total of 62 percent of 1,165 registered voters would support the severance tax hike if an income tax cut is part of the plan, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute reported. Only 31 percent opposed the move.
Without an accompanying income tax cut, support dropped to 52 percent, with 38 percent opposing.
"Ohio voters support the idea of taxing the state's oil and gas producers, especially if the money would go to cutting income taxes for state residents," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute, said in a released statement. "… Only Republicans don't give at least a plurality support to the idea generally and even they back the idea if the money raised went to cutting state income taxes."
The Connecticut-based group regularly gauges Ohioans' views on candidates and issues. The findings have a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.
The institute also found that 81 percent of Ohio voters did not support changing the way the state elects its Supreme Court justices.
The results came after a November election in which two incumbents, a Republican and a Democrat, were unseated by challengers. A main similarity among the three high court winners in the nonpartisan races was their Irish-sounding last names.
"Efforts to end the system of electing state Supreme Court judges have no support with the general public," Brown said. "Four in five voters oppose the idea with virtually no difference along political or gender lines. Simply put ,this is an idea that is going nowhere with Ohio voters. Their views should not be surprising since in general voters want to decide things themselves rather than give politicians the power to decide for them."
Among other issues in the Dec. 12 poll:
• Fifty-one percent of voters said schools need to do a better job managing their existing funding, compared to 37 percent who said schools need more money.
• Voters were nearly equally split on the question of gay marriage, with 45 percent saying they supported it and 47 percent who said the opposite.
• Voters were equally split at 47 percent on whether marijuana use should be legalized in the state.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.