The poll shows Republicans ahead of Democratic candidates in four state races.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ohio Treasurer Joseph T. Deters trails his Democratic opponent in the fall election by 10 percentage points, according to a state poll.
In the latest Ohio Poll, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati, Deters, a Republican, trails Democratic challenger Mary Boyle, a former Cuyahoga County commissioner and 1998 U.S. Senate candidate, 46 percent to 36 percent with 13 percent undecided and the rest choosing "other."
Deters is the only Republican candidate to be behind his Democratic challenger in the poll, which asked 636 registered voters from throughout the state about their preferences in the races for treasurer, governor, auditor, attorney general and secretary of state.
The telephone poll was conducted April 4-20 and has a 3.9 percent margin of error.
State Democrats traditionally dismiss the results of the Ohio Poll, saying it has a bias in favor of Republicans.
"Historically, this poll favors Republicans," said Ohio Democratic Chairman David Leland. "Even with this factor, it's clear that Mary Boyle is the favorite to be the next state treasurer."
Lisa Peterson, Deters' campaign spokeswoman, said there are several more months before the November general election and the campaign's polling data shows Deters with a lead.
"This poll is a reflection of name ID and not an indication of who will win in November," she said.
The recent disclosure of large contributions given by a jailed Cleveland securities broker to the Hamilton County Republican Party, when it was chaired by Deters, has raised questions by Democrats about the treasurer.
But Ohio Poll officials say Deters' name recognition and ratings have changed little since November 2001, before the story broke, which suggests that the controversy is not a factor in this race.
Ohio Poll officials also say Boyle had high levels of name recognition among registered voters when she ran for the U.S. Senate four years ago.
"We have a treasurer who doesn't want the job and his actions have gone unchecked; there is no accountability," Boyle said.
"I will continue to work hard with the rest of the Democratic team to deliver our message of hope in the months ahead. We still have a lot of work to do between now and November, but I am encouraged."
Poll results show Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican, with a huge lead over Tim Hagan, his Democratic challenger. Hagan, who trails Taft 60 percent to 31 percent in the poll, has acknowledged he is running behind and he has to do all he can to catch up to the governor.
In the other races:
U Ohio Auditor Jim Petro, a Republican, leads state Sen. Leigh Herington, a Democrat, 48 percent to 31 percent in the state attorney general's race.
U Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery, a Republican, leads former Cleveland Councilwoman Helen Smith, a Democrat, 58 percent to 28 percent in the state auditor's race.
U Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican seeking re-election, leads state Rep. Bryan Flannery, his Democratic challenger, 45 percent to 33 percent.
"Blackwell and Petro show immediate vulnerability, given the fact that after eight years in office, both are below the 50 percent threshold," Leland said.
The poll shows that those living in Northeast Ohio, the most Democratic part of the state, favor Flannery over Blackwell 38 percent to 32 percent, favor Taft over Hagan by 11 percent, and support Petro over Herington by 6 percent. Montgomery is ahead of Smith by 29 percent in Northeast Ohio, according to the poll.