An analysis by Fritz Wenzel, President, Wenzel Strategies
COLUMBUS – Growing opposition over the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions and concern that government and public school policies are harming families in Ohio, the Spring, 2010 edition of the Ohio Cultural Index has dipped by half a point and now stands at 61.7 on a 100–point scale. To read the entire Cultural Index, CLICK HERE.
The index is calculated based on the responses of Ohioans to 10 survey questions that are repeated every three months. Based on a 100–point scale, with 100 being extremely positive and 0 being extremely negative, the index now stands at 61.7, down from 62.2 last January.
Significant negative movement in the responses of respondents who self–identified as independent voters, as opposed to Democrats or Republicans, shows there is widespread skepticism toward both schools and government policies from this group. Among independents, 46% said they believe government policies in Ohio are causing significant harm to Ohio’s families, which is a 9% jump from just three months ago.
Men showed a similar negative movement over the course of the last three months, while women respondents were less moved. This development mirrors similar reactions in these demographic groups in other survey work conducted across the nation by Wenzel Strategies over the course of the last 12 months, as families struggle with an economy in recession and an increased activism from governments that result in increased pressure on the family unit.
While significantly more men said in this Spring edition of the Ohio Cultural Index survey said they were concerned about the negative impact of government policies and schools on the family unit in Ohio, women were more concerned about the negative effect that entertainment – television, movies, and the Internet – are having on Ohio’s families. More than a third – 38% – said they think entertainment that is pouring into the average Ohio living room is causing harm to families around the state. This reaction from women is 11% higher than just three months ago.
This latest edition of the Ohio Cultural Index does affirm citizens’ ongoing strong belief in God, as 88% said they held at least a moderate amount of belief in God – with 71% saying they had a very strong belief.
Asked if Ohio is a better place to raise a family today compared to other states in the nation, 40% said they believe that it is, up from 34% three months ago. The survey data suggest there is a split on this question, as the percentages both of those who said it was much worse and much better increased. The percentage of those who said it was much better, however, increased more, from 11% up to 18%.
Those who are most likely to actually be raising a family – respondents in their 40s – were much more positive than three months ago, as 18% said it was a much better place for families, up from just 6% who were as enthusiastic three months ago.
There was little change in the attitude about whether modern Ohio families today are better or worse at developing character, compared to a generation ago. Just 16% said they think families today are doing a better job at developing character in their children compared to when the respondents were growing up.
Core beliefs on abortion were essentially unchanged in this survey and attitudes about the impact that abortion has on the women who have them. Four out of five respondents said they believe abortion has at least some notable negative effect on the women who have them, and more than a third – 36% – said they think that negative effect is extreme. Just 11% said abortion has no effect on the women who have them.
And, after a tumultuous year in which taxpayer funding for abortion was at the center of a national debate over health care, opposition to it has grown from 67% three months ago to 72% now. The political implications could be tremendous for those Ohio congressional representatives who voted for the federal health care bill, as their opponents will have a powerful issue to use on the campaign trail this fall. Dramatically, 64% of Ohioans said they are very strongly opposed to the use of taxpayer money to pay for abortion.