Times Reporter

October 5, 2006

Poll shows Space ahead of Padgett

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service

WASHINGTON – Democrat Zack Space is leading Republican Joy Padgett in the race to replace Rep. Bob Ney by 45 percent to 36 percent in what appears to be the first independent poll of voters in the contest.

The Reuters/Zogby poll of the 18th Congressional District race, which is considered one of the most competitive in the nation, shows 17 percent of respondents undecided. An additional 2 percent chose “other.”

Space’s strong showing in the normally Republican district illustrates the troubles the GOP is facing as it struggles to hold on to its House majority in the November election.

The phone survey was released Wednesday after being conducted Sept. 25 to Monday.

Even though the 18th District is considered one of the stronger Republican areas in Ohio, Ney’s admission to participating in a criminal influence peddling scheme and an unfavorable environment for Republicans in Ohio have given Democrats a chance to pick up the seat and even capture control of the House in the Nov. 7 election.

Padgett, a state senator from Coshocton, is a late entry to the race after winning a special election Sept. 14 to replace Ney on the ballot. Space, the Dover law director, beat several other Democrats in his party’s primary earlier this year.

Zogby International, which has been polling in competitive GOP-held districts across the country, said Democrats lead in 11 of 15 of those key races.

“If these numbers hold there could be very good news for Democrats this year,” pollster John Zogby said in a statement. But he added that the polls were taken during what could be described as a “weekendus horribilis” for Republicans as a result of revelations Friday that ex-Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., sent salacious communications to former House pages.

The surveys did not include districts where Democrats may be endangered.

The poll included 501 phone interviews in the 18th District, according to documentation provided by Zogby. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, meaning it is considered 95 percent accurate within that range