Ney has slim lead, his latest poll claims

The campaign of embattled Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) released poll numbers yesterday that contradict a poll his Democratic opponent released Monday, which had shown the challenger with a double-digit lead.

The latest poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for Ney, has him leading Zack Space 45-41. The Space campaign’s poll, performed by Cooper and Secrest Associates on overlapping dates, showed Space with a 46-35 lead.

But with the release of the poll came a stark reminder of why Ney could be in trouble in November, if not before. The Columbus Dispatch reported that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Ney’s senior policy director, John Bennett.

Bennett is the second Ney aide in two weeks to be subpoenaed in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Ney’s former chief of staff, Neil Volz, has pleaded guilty to corruption in the case.

Ney is facing questions about whether he should drop out of the November election before it’s too late to get a replacement candidate on the ballot, as may be happening in the district of former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Ney’s pollster, Glen Bolger, in a summary of yesterday’s poll, states, “There’s no doubt this will be a challenge. ... That being said, Bob Ney is still in this race.” He added: “While the media may be ready to write Bob Ney’s political obituary, this race is far from over.”

Ney’s campaign declined to comment on the subpoena.

Space’s campaign manager, Joe Shafer, said, “We think the campaign is in a great position. We’ve got a lot of momentum. We’re going to keep working hard, and we feel confident we’re going to win in November.”

Ney’s lead in his poll is within the 4.9-percent margin of error and shows Space leading 27-25 among committed voters.

The Ney poll was conducted among 400 likely voters in late June, while Space’s polled 503 likely voters.