Rural voters in Ohio on Tuesday were part of a general shift away from Republican Party priorities, resulting in a victory for a state constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights.
Statewide, the measure protecting access to abortion and other reproductive rights passed 56% to 44%.
The vote represents a dramatic departure from Republican performance in the 2020 presidential election. That year, former President Donald Trump won the Ohio vote by a margin of 8 points. This week the constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, which the Republican Party opposed, won by nearly 13 points.
That’s a 21-point shift from Republican candidate Trump in 2020 to the Republican position on the abortion amendment in 2023.
Rural voters were part of that shift. In 2020, Ohio voters in rural counties supported Trump 72% to 28%, a margin of over 40 points. In Tuesday’s referendum, rural voters opposed the abortion-rights amendment. But they did so by a margin of 18 points, less than half the margin that Trump racked up in the 2020 presidential election.
This week’s results are similar to Ohio’s constitutional referendum in August, in which the abortion issue was on the ballot indirectly through a technical measure.
The graph compares the vote by county type for Trump in 2020 to the “no” vote on the constitutional amendment. In every county type, opposition to the amendment (the Republican position) trailed support for Trump in 2020.
Rural voters were the group with the second-biggest shift from 2020. The biggest shift occurred in the suburbs of major metropolitan areas such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. Those counties shifted 15 points from supporting Trump in 2020 to supporting the abortion-rights amendment in 2023.
County-type definitions used in this analysis:
|County Type||Definition||Percent of Total Vote|
|Major Metro Core||Central counties of metropolitan areas with 1 million or more residents.||29%|
|Major Metro Suburbs||Suburban counties of metropolitan areas with 1 million or more residents.||23%|
|Medium Metro Core||Central counties of metropolitan areas with 250,000 to under 1 million residents.||17%|
|Medium Metro Suburbs||Suburban counties of metropolitan areas with250,000 to under 1 million residents.||8%|
|Small Metros||Counties in metropolitan areas with fewer than 250,000 residents||4%|
|Non-Metro||Counties that are not in a metropolitan area. Synonymous with rural in this analysis.||19%|