Poll shows a surprisingly close governor's race

This is not supposed to be happening.

Democrat Timothy F. Hagan -- lagging in name recognition, outgunned in campaign cash and all but written off by political experts -- is within striking distance of the incumbent in Ohio's race for governor.

Hagan's biggest advantage? His name isn't Bob Taft.

The first Dispatch Poll of the general election campaign shows the former Cuyahoga County commissioner trailing Republican Gov. Taft by just 8 percentage points.

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Commentary by Chad D. Baus:

Political insiders from both parties have been worried throughout the summer months that the wide separation in poll numbers for the Governor's race could hurt them in other races, specifically as Supreme Court and General Assembly races. Party officials worried that Republicans/ conservatives might not come out to vote because they know Taft will win, and/or are not that excited about his tilt to the left. Democrats worried that since no one likes to vote for a looser, their voters would stay home on election day.

Now that a major statewide poll shows a tightening, and if those numbers are supported through other polling, a whole new question presents itself. Will Taft realize his vote-chasing dash to the left has actually cost him more votes than he gained? How will it effect his refusal to support HB 274, the Conceal Carry bill passed by the House and under consideration in the Senate?

Time will tell, but one thing is already clear - Taft's campaign shows signs of needing their conservative voting base more than they expected, and their past decision-making has left them with nothing to run to us with at the eleventh hour.

An action item presents itself. If you are part of what Republicans would consider their base, let your county Republican party HQ, and Taft's campaign office, know your plans for voting this November.

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