NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR & PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST
Contact

The Ohio abortion amendment and the American Nations

Over at Nationhood Lab, the research project and data journalism portal I lead at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center, we were curious how the three American Nations sections of Ohio each voted on that state’s much-watched abortion vote. The answer: they voted in distinct ways, and only partly as I would have predicted.

The vote — Issue 1 on the state’s Nov. 7 ballot — was on whether or not to protect abortion rights in the state’s constitution, and thus protect them from interference by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature. It passed statewide by 13 points, which was enough to secure passage because voters earlier this year spurned — by similar margins and geographic patterns — a Republican effort to raise the threshold to 60 percent. Ohio was settled via three rival east-west settlement streams that rarely see eye to eye. You can read the details of how each voted in this article over at the project website. But in summary: Voters in Yankeedom (the Western Reserve) favored the measure by the widest margin (+30.4), with even a majority of voters in rural counties supporting it; Greater Appalachia also supported it by a healthy margin (+16.4) but saw a stark rural-urban split, with Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton metro areas voting overwhelmingly for it, rural counties in aggregate very much against; the Midlands actually voted against the measure (by 7.3), with even urban voters (concentrated in the Toledo area) barely supporting it (+3). 

As you’ll see from the piece, this likely has to do with the distribution of religious traditions in each region. And there will be more on that later over at the Pell Center.