TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – John Ramsey (search), father of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey (search), is in a close race with three other Republicans for the state House less than a week before the primary election, according to poll results released Wednesday.
The survey by Lansing-based EPIC/MRA shows that many in the northern Michigan district have an unfavorable impression of Ramsey. But it also suggests he is benefiting from the crowded field, pollster Ed Sarpolus said.
"Because the anti-Ramsey vote is so divided, it allows him a shot at actually winning" next Tuesday's GOP primary, Sarpolus said.
Of 401 likely Republican voters surveyed July 22-26 by phone, 18 percent supported Ramsey. Kevin Elsenheimer, an attorney, was supported by 20 percent, while 17 percent backed Jeff Garfield, a county official. Sixteen percent favored Craig Ryan, a former legislative aide. The rest were undecided or supported other candidates.
The poll's margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points meant the four leaders were in a statistical dead heat.
Nearly four in 10 voters said they had an unfavorable impression of Ramsey, while about three in 10 viewed him favorably, Sarpolus said.
Six-year-old JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the family's home in Boulder, Colo., in 1996. No charges have been filed and the Ramseys have denied responsibility, saying an intruder killed their daughter.
Ramsey, his wife and son became permanent residents of Charlevoix last fall after having a summer home there since the early 1990s.