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Who’s leading in the 6th?



Published: Fri, October 12, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By David Skolnick (Contact)


On the side

TV appearance: I will be appearing on MSNBC about 3:30 p.m. Saturday for a segment on the presidential race in Ohio with anchor Craig Melvin and Paul Kostyu, statehouse reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Mandel interview: Video excerpts of The Vindicator’s endorsement interview with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, have attracted a lot of national media attention. And, yes, those are my “jazz hands” that look like they’re magically floating up and down at one point. I wanted to clarify one thing in The Huffington Post article: I participate in endorsement interviews, but I’m not a member of the editorial board and have no say in endorsements.

Obama rally: 1911 United, Simply United Together and the Youngstown Warren Black Caucus are having a rally from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. today in the parking lot of Dr. David Davis’ office at 1320 Belmont Ave. in Youngstown to support the president. The three groups held similar rallies in the city on June 17 and 18.

A poll conducted on behalf of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson and the National Republican Congressional Committee shows the incumbent with an 8 percentage points lead.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Charlie Wilson, Johnson’s Democratic challenger, released its own poll Thursday showing Wilson ahead by 6 percentage points in the 6th Congressional District race. A poll by the Wilson campaign given to The Vindicator on Sept. 18 had the race tied at 46 percent each.

Every poll should be met with some skepticism, particularly those paid for by campaigns and political committees.

But there’s a difference between the Johnson poll and the Wilson polls.

The Johnson campaign provided complete results of the poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a national Republican research firm, to The Vindicator.

The Johnson poll, which has the Republican leading 47 percent to 39 percent, gave me all the questions asked.

The Wilson campaign has declined to release its complete polls.

The Johnson poll, taken on Sept. 26 and 27 of 400 likely voters, has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

Thirty-six percent of the participants were identified as Republicans, 34 percent as Democrats, and 28 percent as either leaning toward one of the parties, independents or didn’t identify a party affiliation.

“This poll shows that people in eastern Ohio are glad they hired Bill Johnson and even more glad they fired Charlie Wilson,” said Mark Weaver, Johnson’s campaign spokesman. “This was a straight-ballot-question poll without first asking positive or negative questions.”

The poll also shows Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate, with a huge lead — 53 percent to 39 percent — in the 18-county 6th District over President Barack Obama, the Democratic incumbent. The district includes all of Columbiana County and the southern portion of Mahoning County.

The 6th District’s lines are changing with this election, adding more Republicans areas, because of redistricting. Obama received about 47 percent of the vote in the 6th in 2008.

“These results are absolutely laughable,” said J.R. Starrett, Wilson’s campaign manager. “Congressman Johnson is very much in jeopardy of losing his seat. They also show Bill Johnson severely under performing compared to Mitt Romney.”

Wilson’s latest poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research, a Democratic firm, has Wilson leading Johnson 49 percent to 43 percent in a poll of 500 likely voters, with 8 percent undecided.

The Wilson campaign poll taken last month had the two tied at 46 percent with 8 percent undecided. A July poll had Johnson ahead 47 percent to 43 percent with 10 percent undecided.

The Wilson polls have a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

“This race is far from over, but Charlie Wilson is increasingly well-positioned to win if he has the resources to respond to attack ads from Johnson and his Republican allies,” according to an Anzalone Liszt letter with the new poll.

The Johnson campaign said the Wilson polls can’t be trusted because the complete results aren’t being provided.

“In polling, it’s possible to cook the numbers and it sounds like Charlie Wilson cooked his worse than an overdone rump roast,” Weaver said.


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