If Ohio is, as the license plates put it, "the heart of it all," then the Buckeye State may be a good bellwether about the upcoming election. A new poll there by the University of Akron's Bliss Institute finds:
—Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell is still getting his ass kicked by Democratic challenger, Congressman Ted Strickland.
—Republican incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine has pulled even with challenger Sherrod Brown.
—a ballot initiative jacking the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 has support of 73 percent of likely voters.
—some sort of law banning smoking in most public places will pass (there are two on the ballot).
—slot machines at horse racetracks may pass; 48 percent of likely voters are in favor and 40 percent are against.
—voters are generally unhappy. Eighty-one percent say the economy matters big-time; 80 percent say corruption in government is a big problem; and 78 percent say foreign policy is "very important."
—Eighty-four percent believed their votes would be counted fairly (this, in a state plagued with concerns on that score).