The presidential race in Ohio is a dead heat according to a recent poll conducted for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The newspaper’s Sunday headline indicated a 48 percent to 46 percent race, with the Republican leading by two points. McCain’s two point lead, according to the Cleveland paper, shows a narrowing of the race in favor of Obama as compared to a previous poll in September showing him several points ahead. Other national polls last week pointed to a two point lead in Ohio by Obama.

The Obama/Biden ticket is besting the Republican in the northeast and northwest sections of the state. McCain and Palin, however, have an advantage in central and southwest Ohio. The Democrats, significantly have an advantage in the southeast of the state 48 percent to 39 percent. Only three percent are undecided, but 13 percent of voters might change their mind by election time according to this survey.

Notwithstanding this study’s results in northeast Ohio many voters remain undecided .

With a statistical tie just 3 weeks out, both camps are gearing up for turning out the vote. Election activists and analysts point out that the economy is trumping all other issues and driving voters toward marking Democratic ballots. NBC commentator Chris Matthews reported Sunday morning that 43 percent of white voters now support Obama, a figure equaling the ballots cast for Bill Clinton. Newsweek spots the number at 46 percent. Lyndon Johnson was the last Democrat to receive a majority of the white vote.

Against this background, the McCain/Palin attempt to inject divisive issues into the campaign has been sharply rebuked in many quarters. Republican news commentator David Gergen appearing on the Colbert Report, condemned McCain’s failure to respond to the ugly character of Republican rallies, saying “the John McCain is better than that.” Representative John Lewis (D-GA), in a recent statement compared the atmosphere at Republican meets as similar to that which led to the Birmingham bombings.

Campaigners working in Ohio also note the influence of negative attacks. “The idea that Obama is a member of Al Qaeda and terrorist is still out there” said an election worker in Youngtown. “I told one woman, ‘Look, your husband is 75 and still has to work to care for you and pay hospital bills because you don’t have insurance. Your daughter is on dialysis. Obama has a health plan to give you insurance without pre-existing conditions and also make it affordable. Wake up!”

Ohio governor William Strickland voiced similar sentiments at a recent labor rally in Niles Ohio. “If you are in a flood it doesn’t matter what color the person’s arm is that pulls you out the water. You just hope it’s a strong arm. Obama has a strong arm.”

Joe Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate is scheduled to appear in Warren Ohio on Tuesday.