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Poll Shows Suprising Views On Issues Of Term Limits, Redistricting, And Early Voting

A new University of Akron poll asked registered voters about three major issues. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

The Akron Buckeye Poll asked about three issues that lawmakers may deal with soon – redistricting, term limits and early voting.  Dr. John Green with the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron says the term limits answers surprised him the most. 57% of voters said term limits have helped the state, while 30% said they hadn’t – and 70% of voters said eight year term limits should stay. But 61% of voters supported increasing terms by two years, so representatives would serve four year terms, and senators would serve six year terms. Green says he has two theories why.
“Many people, Ohioans think that their representatives should have more time on task – so that if someone is elected, say, with a four-year term they’d have three years to work on public policy before the next election. And then of course you know a lot of Ohioans are not real happy with the tone of our elections, so if campaigns could be postponed, that would probably please a lot of folks.”

Green also says 48% of the voters surveyed said the way the state drew its district lines has hurt Ohio, which is similar to results from the University of Akron’s poll in 2007.  But they’re divided on how the lines should be drawn.
“The largest group – a plurality of people, about 44% - said that they’d really like to have a non-partisan panel of some kind to draw the district lines. There are a lot of people who would be happy with a bipartisan panel, a panel of equal number of Democrats and Republicans.”

And the poll also found that 60% of respondents say early voting has helped the state, and 51% support early voting up to four weeks before the election for any reason – 30% said it should go back to how it used to be before 2005 – voting just on election day with absentee voting for those who have excuses. Recently, lawmakers shortened the early voting period by a week, taking it from 35 days before an election to 29 days. And changes to redistricting and term limits have been under discussion by the panel that’s debating possible changes to Ohio’s constitution, which voters would have to approve. The Akron Buckeye Poll was done by sampling 1078 registered voters over landline and cell phones last month, and has a margin of error of three percent.

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