A new poll shows Ohio Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and GOP challenger John Kasich about even in one of the most closely watched governor's races in the country.
Four weeks ago, polls showed Strickland had fallen far behind in this big swing-voting state. A poll last weekend by Ohio's eight largest newspapers showed Kasich, a former congressman, with a slight lead.
Now a New York Times/CBS News poll released Tuesday shows that among those surveyed, 42 percent said they would vote for Strickland and 43 percent said they would go with Kasich.
Strickland apparently got a boost from a series of ads aimed at tapping into frustration over the economy.
"Ohioans are angry, and I'm angry too," he said in a TV ad that began airing statewide last week. "Wall Street got their recovery. And executives who outsourced our jobs, they got their bonuses."
He's also stepped up criticism of Kasich, saying that the Republican supported trade deals that shipped jobs overseas. Kasich responded this week with an ad that called Strickland's record on jobs "an absolute failure."
Kasich, who wants to eliminate the state income tax and trim business regulations, surged ahead over the summer from what had been a tight race. He and his supporters poured millions into television ads over the summer while Strickland did little advertising in July and August.
Both parties now are focusing on the governor's race, bringing in big names to rally support.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton have been in the state in recent weeks to boost Strickland's campaign.
Less than month ago, Biden and Strickland dashed through downtown Toledo at a Labor Day parade on a cool, cloudy morning just after an Ohio newspaper poll showed the governor trailing by double digits.
The mood seemed grim and Strickland admitted he was in trouble, yet he remained confident that a strategy to get out early voters would help him win.
While Strickland's chances are looking better, his Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher has not made up any ground against Republican Rob Portman in their race for Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat. Most polls have shown Portman, a former congressman from Cincinnati, with a comfortable margin. The New York Times/CBS News poll showed Portman ahead 45-34 among likely voters.
For both races, the telephone survey of 973 registered voters was conducted Sept. 23-27. It has a margin of error or plus or minus 3 percentage points.