COLUMBUS Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell has closed within single digits of his opponent in the last week of the campaign. The Wall Street Journal Zogby Interactive Poll today shows the race has narrowed to 7.5 points with Blackwell receiving 43.3 percent and Congressman Ted Strickland receiving 50.8 percent. The poll was conducted from Oct. 23 - 27 and has a 3.7 percent margin of error. Previous surveys have shown Strickland with a double-digit lead.
The Blackwell campaign attributed the gap-closing poll to increased voter awareness and an emerging re-energized Republican base. Over the past several weeks, Republican grassroots voter contact efforts have reached several hundred thousand Republican and Independent voters. In addition, the campaign yesterday launched a major television advertising effort featuring national hero and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"We are campaigning door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor in the last weeks of the campaign and seeing great results," Blackwell campaign chair Lara Mastin said. "The polls are closing because Ken Blackwell's solutions to our state's education, health care and economic challenges offer a positive change of direction for Ohio families."
"We have the ground forces, resources and message necessary to take Ken Blackwell to victory on Nov. 7," Mastin added. Zogby International, one of the nation's most historically accurate polling firms, touts its interactive poll as the "wave of the future in survey research." In the 2004 presidential election, the survey accurately predicted the winner in 85 percent of the states that it polled within 4 points on average. In 2005, the poll accurately predicted the results of both the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial contests, with poll results within 2.5 points on average.
I don't put a lot of stock in polls. I never took statistics in college, so I don't pretend to understand this stuff. I gotta believe, however, that these are rarely accurate simply because of media bias. Zogby may be different. Who knows? We'll find out in a week.