3 polls indicate dead heat for Ohio



A spokesman for President Bush said the polls' results don't surprise him.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- If you need further proof that Ohio, a key battleground state in the presidential election, is up for grabs, three polls will help convince you.
The three recent polls show that Ohio is a statistical dead heat between President Bush and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, his Democratic opponent, among likely voters.
The polls also show that few people are undecided as to whom they will support on Election Day.
Jennifer Palmieri, Kerry's Ohio spokeswoman, said the campaign's goal is to persuade the undecided voters to support the Democratic ticket and to continue to motivate and encourage Ohio Democrats to vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
"It's not unusual that there are so few undecided at this time in the campaign," she said. "Undecided voters will play a major role in Ohio and help decide the next president."
More visits planned
Palmieri said residents of the Mahoning Valley, one of the most Democratic areas of the state, should expect to see Kerry, U.S. Sen. John Edwards, the party's vice presidential nominee, and their wives several times leading up to the Nov. 2 election.
Kevin Madden, Bush's spokesman, said he's not surprised by the polls' results.
"This shows it was close [in Ohio] last month, it was close yesterday, it's close today, and it will be close on Election Day," he said.
A poll conducted by Atlanta-based Strategic Vision LLC of likely Ohio voters shows Bush with 49 percent, Kerry with 45 percent, independent candidate Ralph Nader with 2 percent, and 4 percent undecided. The telephone poll of 801 likely voters in Ohio was conducted Saturday through Tuesday with a margin of error of 3 percent.
With Nader out of the equation, Bush stays at 49 percent, but Kerry moves up to 46 percent with 5 percent undecided. The margin of error remains at 3 percent for this question.
Nader's campaign submitted nominating petitions Wednesday to get him on the Ohio ballot, but the signatures must be checked for validity by the 88 county boards of elections in the state before Nader's name can appear on the ballot.
Some results
A poll conducted by USA Today, CNN and Gallup of likely Ohio voters has Kerry ahead of Bush 48 percent to 46 percent with 6 percent having no opinion, choosing neither of the candidates or selecting someone else. The telephone poll was taken Aug. 13 to Sunday of 628 likely voters, and has a 5-percent margin of error.
When Nader is added to the equation, Kerry gets 47 percent, Bush gets 45 percent, Nader gets 4 percent and 4 percent had no opinion, chose none of them or another candidate.
The poll also asked 761 registered voters about the race with Kerry getting 52 percent of their support compared to 42 percent for Bush in a head-to-head matchup. With Nader, Kerry drops to 50 percent, Bush dips to 41 percent and Nader gets 5 percent.
The questions asked of registered voters have a 4-percent margin of error, so even if you take away 4 percent of Kerry's support and give it to Bush, the Democrat would eke out a victory among registered voters in Ohio. Pollsters and political campaigns usually rely on likely voters over registered ones when gauging support.
The Institute of Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati's Ohio Poll shows Kerry receiving the support of 48 percent of the state's likely voters, and Bush with 46 percent. One percent support Nader, and 1 percent chose "other." Four percent are undecided.
The telephone poll of 812 likely voters was conducted from Aug. 11 to Tuesday. The margin of error is 3.4 percent.
The Ohio Poll shows the Democratic ticket is strongest in the state's northeast portion. Kerry-Edwards have 54 percent of the vote in that area compared to 41 percent for Bush-Cheney.
skolnick@vindy.com

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