Poll Shows Ohio Pickup Opportunity for Democrats

Posted May 29, 2008 at 2:39pm

In the highly competitive race to replace retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) had a double-digit lead over her opponent, state Sen. Steve Stivers (R), according to a poll released by Kilroy’s campaign on Thursday.

In the poll, Kilroy led Stivers 47 percent to 37 percent, with 5 percent for a third-party candidate and 11 percent undecided. The survey, conducted by Kilroy’s pollster, the Benenson Strategy Group, queried 516 likely voters May 20-22 and had a 4.3-point margin of error.

This is Kilroy’s second try in the Columbus-area district, but her first attempt in an open race. Pryce defeated Kilroy by about 1,000 votes in 2006.

The poll showed that Kilroy’s favorable ratings have improved since October 2006, during her heated race with Pryce. She had favorable and unfavorable ratings of 40 percent and 43 percent, respectively, in 2006, compared with 44 percent favorable and 34 percent unfavorable ratings this month.

Stivers was heavily recruited by national Republicans to get into the race, which is expected to be one of the closest in the country this cycle. The district split evenly in the 2004 presidential election.

Stivers’ campaign manager, Michael Hartley, pointed to the fact that the poll was paid for by Kilroy, and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, Hartley parsed Kilroy’s numbers.

“She’s been running for this office for over four years now … and she’s still not over 50 percent,” he said.

— Shira Toeplitz