The Campaign Spot

O-High Tension in O-hio’s Primary!

The first Morning Jolt of Super Primary Week . . .

Ohio Republicans Want You to Stay Up Late Tuesday Night

Want drama? Ohio’s got drama.

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has pulled into a statistical dead heat with rival Rick Santorum in Ohio, two new polls find.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday shows Romney and Santorum tied with 32 percent support from likely GOP voters in Ohio, two days ahead of that state’s crucial Republican primary. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich follows with 17 percent support, trailed by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) at 6 percent.

Santorum still holds an edge in the NBC News/Marist poll, but within that survey’s margin of error. That poll finds Santorum has the support of 34 percent of likely GOP voters in the state, ahead of Romney at 32 percent. NBC/Marist finds House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 15 percent support, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 13 percent.

Ohio is one of 10 states voting on “Super Tuesday.”

“This race could really go either way between now and Tuesday,” Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said in a report from Reuters. “If Mitt Romney is able to close this out and win this race, that gives him a leg up in going all the way to the convention and winning the Republican nomination.”

“I just think it’s going to very close,” said Marist College Institute for Public Opinion Director Lee Miringoff, in a statement.

The downside for Santorum: There are certain delegates he can’t win in Ohio. “Santorum failed to submit the required paperwork in three of the state’s congressional districts to be eligible to win any delegates and only partial paperwork in six other districts. And it’s in those six where things start to get complicated.”

The upside for Santorum: I guess he doesn’t have to spend a dime in those three districts, huh?

Still, the talk from Team Sweater Vest sounded a little cautious Sunday:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is hedging his bets on Super Tuesday votes in Ohio, saying that the delegate-heavy Buckeye State presents a challenge, “only because of the fact of the money disadvantage.” But the former Pennsylvania senator also delivered an upbeat note about the state during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re running a grass-roots campaign, we’re hanging in there, and we’re going to do very, very well,” he said. “We have the anti-Romney vote, if you will.”

Oh, and if you want some giggles, keep an eye on a down-ballot Ohio fight:

Two labor favorites in Congress face each other in Ohio’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, putting the politically active United Auto Workers union in an unhappy position in the middle.

Dennis Kucinich, a political icon for a generation in Cleveland, and Marcy Kaptur, a popular figure in Toledo, were drawn into a single district by GOP district map-makers.

Each has been repeatedly re-elected in neighboring congressional districts populated by auto plants and thousands of union workers. But their historic political bases, Cleveland and Toledo, are shrinking, and suddenly UAW members must choose between two candidates with 95 percent ratings on votes important to labor.

Are we ready for an America where we can’t laugh at Kucinich in Congress?

Also out this morning:

The Ohio Republican presidential primary remains too close to call, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the momentum, and 34 percent of likely Republican primary voters, to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 31 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is a 10-point shift from a February 27 Ohio survey by the independent Quinnipiac University showing Santorum with a 36 – 29 percent lead.

The entire “class warfare” argument continues to be refuted by the Quinnipiac numbers. The rich guy, Romney, is winning voters making less than $30,000 per year, 31 percent to 24 percent; working-class populist Santorum is winning those making between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, 36 percent to 33 percent. Among those making more than $100,000 per year, Romney leads, 43 percent to 30 percent.


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