Former Texas governor John Connally leads the field of Republican presidential candidates in a statewide pol of Ohio GOP leaders conducted by the Cuyahoga County Republican Party.
At the same time, however, a grassroots poll of Cuyahoga County Republican gives former California governor Ronald Reagan the lead over connally and other GOP hopefuls.
County Republican Chairman Robert Hughes, who announced the results today, said 272 of 466 state party leaders responded to the presidential-preference questionnaire. Among those queried were county charmen, elected officials -- including legislators and congressmen -- and state central committeemen.
At the county level, 7,656 of 14,054 Republicans -- mostly precinct committeemen -- returned the questionnaire, Hughes said.
In the state poll, Connally got 37.2 percent, Reagan 23.3 percent, Sen. Howard Baker [Tenn.] 10.1 percent, former president Gerald Ford 9.3 percent, and former United Nations ambassador George Bush 7.8 percent.
In Cuyahoga County, Reagan led "ford, 29 percent to 19.1. Connally got 18.1 percent, Baker 16 percent, and Sen. Charles Percy [iii.] 5.2 percent. Eight others shared the remaining votes.
Hughes, who describes himself as Neutral" and is urging a favorite-son candidacy by Gov. James A. Rhodes, said he wasn't surprised by the results. "But it is interesting that in Cuyahoga County, the two strongest Republicans [Reagan and Ford] are un-announced," he said. "If Ford announces, I think he would be extremely strong and take the lead in Cuyahoga County."
Hughes said the county party will continue to poll for the next 10 weeks on a scientific basis. He said the new polls are being set up with the "advice and counsel" of Robert Teeter, the narty's national pollster.