Gordon Smith popularity falling?

Even as the 2006 elections heat up, it's worth thinking about 2008.

Notwithstanding the Oregonian's ongoing love affair with our junior U.S. Senator Gordon Smith, it's interesting to note that in the latest Survey USA poll, Gordon Smith's net positives over negatives have fallen to just 9%, with 50% favorable and 41% unfavorable. 

This is his worst showing in recent years -- perhaps ever.   Click here to see the trend line.   

In contrast, Wyden's viewed favorably by 59% of Oregonians and unfavorably by just 33%, for a 26% net approval.

Are voters starting to get wise to the many ways in which Senator Smith hides his right-wing voting record behind a few "moderate" votes that he plays up for the press?  Or is this just part of the national trend against Bush and his allies?  Or is the Survey USA poll just a crock?

Who should the Democrats be grooming to run against Smith in 2008?

  • Baloo (unverified)

    The only thing I care about is he invites a man that incites a riot almost every time he's in Portland, then think it'll win him votes (problem was, it worked despite common sense dictating you vote against people who side with riot-starters). It's that asshole's riots that got me pepper sprayed in the face without warning, and on a different occasion in a different riot, but on the same spot, hit over the head with a glass Pepsi bottle. All just trying to get to work to a shitty night-shift security job at one of the Portland hospitals, while in uniform...

  • verasoie (unverified)

    Kitzhaber. Hands down. He'll hand Smith his head on a silver platter. I got to speak with the good Doctor a couple of years back on this very topic, and he confided in me that it was definitely in his considerations, but he wouldn't commit more strongly that that.

    Otherwise, perhaps DeFazio, though he'll probably be close to a committee chairmanship in the House by then if things go the Democrat's way this fall or in '08.

  • Rob Vaughn (unverified)

    Short answer: How about someone from the House of Reps.? And not some rich guy from the West Hills who's really no more qualified than Smith, who at least has two terms under his belt aside from being a really wealthy?

    Long answer: I'm a strict independent who's voted for Smith twice because I believe that he is a moderate Republican (granted, that's given the current political climate, where what's now a moderate would have been considered pretty right-wing 20-30 years ago) and felt that he balanced out Wyden, who represents the interests of metro-area Portland, by representing the rest of Oregon. I am still also very impressed by how much work Wyden and Smith have done together and I think having two Senators, one from each party, working together to represent our state helps Oregon greatly. Remember that we're very few electorial votes and nationally are a very minor state (despite how many people keep moving here.)

    All that said, I hope the Demos can come up with someone who isn't like the last couple of rich, know-nothing, talking heads that they had in the last two elections against Smith. Because despite my past support for Smith, his voting record in the last two years has really gone from OK to pretty bad in my book, and in general as an independent I cannot find it in myself to vote Republican in the next election, no matter who's running, after the last six years of possibly the worst Federal administration ever. Perhaps one can claim I'm not independent when I say that, but I am. I'll vote for whomever will do or has been doing the best job, regardless of party.

    It's too bad that the Democratic party can't seem to come up with a platform, figure out issues to address and stances to take, and find candidates with any experience or charisma. So let's hope DeFazio or Blumhauer (sp?) decide to make a run for it, because lame ducks like Kerry and Gore and Mondale (had to mention him, since someone had a Monday/Ferraro sign in their yard, which was hilarious) will never win elections. Charisma counts for a lot, and Smith has a ton of it. For example, while I'm mixed on Kitzhaber, he's got the charisma to win and would get my vote. Cheers, "shades of grey" R

  • Rob Vaughn (unverified)

    Always find the typos after the preview-n-post. That's "aside from being really wealthy" and "Mondale/Ferraro", not "Monday. Sheesh. Damned meds.

  • iaminchargeofme (unverified)

    2008 is not soon enough. We still live under representative goverment. This means that our representatives that WE send to Washington DC are supposed to be representing us to make US laws and oversee the Executive Branch of Government. Since Senator Gordon Smith voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice and perjury during the investigation into President Clinton's sexual laison with a White House intern, I would expect Senator Gordon Smith to be at least as equally concerned about the current President's flagrant disregard for established US law including but not limited to: ordering and supporting torture; ordering and attempting to cover-up illegal domestic wire tapping; and revealing the identity of a CIA undercover operative and exposing the CIA front company that she represented. Senator Gordon Smith is representing Oregonians. I am a Republican that can no longer stand by and watch our great country be attacked by the Executive Terrorists while the Senator from Oregon asists the Executive Terrorists in their actions against the freedom of this country. I cannot remove George Bush since I am not a member of the House of Representatives but I can assist to remove the Republican representative to the Senate that supports George W. Bush in his illegal activities. Senator Gordon Smith does NOTHING to stop or even question the illegal activities of the Terrorists in control of the White House. I will gladly assist anyone that chooses to start a recall effort against Senator Gordon Smith. P.S.- Why did George W. Bush and friends need to stop Brewster Jennings from operating? Was it to cover the Bush Administration's lies leading up to the war or because Brewster Jennings was tracking down those persons and groups reponsible for the funding of the terrorists that brought us the attack of 9/11? As long as there is a Republican majority in the House and Senate, the world will never know.

  • Karen (unverified)

    I've heard from a couple of friends that Smith may actually not even run for re-election in 2008 - fed up with the current climate in Washington and still hurting from the death of his son. If that's the case, is there a Dem who can win the seat without the "benefit" of having a sitting Senator as the known opponent?

  • Keith Creech (unverified)

    The "trend" link you gave seems to show numbers that have been, and remain, incredibly stable throughout. I don't see any groundswell. Even so, having a Republican in the US Senate representing Oregon is an anomaly that I'm pretty sure can be reversed. The Issue that will matter, in my mind, isn't Smith himself, or the careful hairsplitting of policy positions -- but the simple fact that President Bush has threatened all we as Americans hold sacred, and Sen. Smith has done nothing to stop him.

  • TK (unverified)

    Every time I see Gordon Smith I laugh. Back at U of O, I had a friend who housecleaned at the Valley River Inn. When he was in town for a campaign stop, she cleaned his room, mid-stay. Lo and behold, our favorite Mormon had a stack of porn. Not that there's anything wrong witht that...

    It's a lot like Tom DeLay's staffers privately noting that the christian-right could be douped. It's all a front, all a facade.

  • j.biddy (unverified)

    There seems to be a pretty sharp rise in his unfavorables, but his favorable seems to be pretty stable.

    I don't see his favorables going down any further than 50, perhaps 48 at the absolute lowest. I would imagine that his unfavorables could definitely go up though. Especially with the growing dissatisfaction with the GOP around the counrty. Will that translate to a (D) victory in '08, though? Who knows. The political climate will most likely be much different by then. Plus, it sounds like most people are fed up with politicians in general right now, not just the GOP.

  • JayCee (unverified)

    In the US Senate, seniority is everything. Trading out an effective moderate who is a member of the Finance Committee is Stupid with a capital "S." Smith has carved out a niche as one of the key swing votes on most of the important legislation passing through the Finance Committee. He single handily led the charge against the administrations Medicaid cuts which kept hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Oregon to provide health care for low income Oregonians.

    Trading Smith out for a bomb thrower like DeFazio or a cool, aloof outsider like Kitzhaber would only hurt Oregon (even if they voted "right" 100% of the time"). Like it or not, to be effective in the US Senate, a Senator has to be able to build relationships across party lines (like Smith and Wyden) and work within the institution to effect change. Neither Kitzhaber or DeFazio have shown these skills. Personally, I hope both Wyden and Smith continue to represent Oregon, gain clout and seniority and end up holding gavels of important committees. With one "D" and one "R", regardless of which party is in the majority, Oregon will be well represented.

  • (Show?)

    Just a reminder that we had a discussion about this recently on BlueOregon and there were a lot of great comments made. So, for more on the topic, visit...


  • Kevin (unverified)

    Very interesting topic!

    First of all I'd like to totally concur with whomever suggested that Kitzhaber would had Gordon Smith his head on a silver platter if he chose to challenge him. I'm positive he could and would do just that.

    Gordon Smith... I've never voted against him, including when he and Wyden were vying for Packwood's seat. I'd voted for Packwood and although I was disgusted by his personal behavior, I was equally disgusted by how it was turned into a partisan circus. Besides which, I've always preferred moderate to liberal Republicans when I have the choice and I saw Smith as following in that tradition.

    Until Bush was (s)elected President I never changed my view on Smith. Since then, however, I've seen him increasingly as more of a partisan puppet than anything else. Which flies completely in the face of the exemplary independent career of Senator Hatfield who I absolutely adored as a politician. Which is to say that I won't vote for Smith again.

    Interestingly enough... although what I've said here indicates a pretty solid ideological voting pattern, it's actually a lot less clear-cut than that. For instance, I've never voted against Kitzhaber either and yet his ideology was always to the left of mine. But he always exhibited that independent streak that I've so valued above almost everything else.

    As for the polling data on Smith... my personal view is that it indicates that he's lost the moderate middle that got him elected and re-elected. Karma's a bitch sometimes... Can't say that I feel sorry for him, though.

  • blue kid (unverified)

    Who should run against Smith?

    Three words: Blu. Men. Auer.

  • jami (unverified)

    i know smith has voted for the federal tax cuts for the rich that have bankrupted oregon and all the other states. i suspect he voted for the war and the "PATRIOT" act, and to confirm all bush's stalinist appointees, but i don't have time to look it up. anyone know off the top of his/her head?

    i do like his suicide prevention bill and the things he's doing for rural counties, and smith does seem like a nice man. but that's not quite enough to atone for standing with federal leadership this corrupt and downright scary.

  • coastdemo (unverified)

    What makes it even more problamatic for Smith is that he has not enamored himself with the wingnut branch of the Republican party - who view him as a RINO (Republican in name only).

  • ligedog (unverified)

    An earlier poster critisised Kitzhabers ability to work with others. This is perhaps his interpretation of the relationship between Kitzhaber and a do-nothing, hostile, Gingrichite state legislature. Kitzhaber was a master legislator before he was Governer and he would be able to do the same again in Washinghton. Kitzhaber '08!

  • Garlynn (unverified)

    I'd have to agree with blue kid in making my list of Top 2 Favs to Replace Smith:

    1. Kitzhaber (would do wonders for health-care discussions in the Senate)


    1. Blumenauer (even though he's doing a great job right now in the House, I'm sure his district could elect a good replacement for him in a heartbeat, and he is needed in the Senate).

    BTW, when was the last time that Oregon had two Democratic senators serving at the same time?

  • josh (unverified)

    My suggestion is to talk DeFazio out of even considering this move. If this happens, there really isn't a democrat capable of moving into Peter's shoes and winning the 4th CD. There is, however, a republican that is not only capable but is in a terrific position to do just that. I have posted this before and I will say it again, Sid Leiken, Mayor of Springfield, and also a close friend of the congressmen's. If Peter stays in the house and gets in position for a chairmanship Leiken won't run against him. Besides, there are other insider's suggesting Leiken is eying an eventual run for Governor.

  • (Show?)

    Smith did vote for the war, of course, and for every tax cut. The frustrating thing is that liberal groups have applauded him for "fighting to save Medicaid" etc. He never votes to PAY for any of it. He's the Senator from VISA; if it increases the deficit, he's for it. He's also committed to the "global warming is a hoax" crowd - he was one of a minority of Senators who voted against a Bingaman resolution that actually passed the Senate, which basically just said "global warming is real and someday we should do something about it." I don't think we should waste any time waiting for Kitzhaber, who hates to raise money; Federal offices are hard, you have to raise it in $2,000 bites, he'll never make that many phone calls. Also, he just doesn't want to go to DC.

  • Jim F (unverified)

    I'd like to toss a couple of names into the mix:

    For Senate '08: Jim Hill

    Not that I'm not in favor of a Kitzhaber '08 campaign....but not for the Senate. I'd rather see him go for a bit higher than that - like, oh, <u>1600 Pennsylvania Avenue</u>. His ideas on health care deserve a national stage, and national Democrats are looking for a nominee who can pull in so-called "red state" votes. I think our former Governor would fill that bill nicely.

    Gee, a small state former Governor no one's heard of running for President? Hmmm....I heard that the governors of Georgia, Arkansas and Vermont tried that...wonder whatever became of them....

  • (Show?)

    First off, Hill has the charisma of a dinasour, therefore in my opinion we would be one of the worst choices. I believe Hill is a good guy and is smart, but he very much botched running for governor this time around.

    Second, I agree DeFaizo shouldn't run, but not for the same reasons someone else gave though. My feeling is not a strong enough candidate to pull out a win. His district is down south, so I have to question how well he'd do with independent or moderate Republicans.

    Third, while I think Kitzhaber would be a good possiblity, he seems disinterested in running as a candidate. That's not to say he wouldn't do it, but I think it's unlikely he will.

    Personally, I like Blumenauer (not sure if I spelled his name right), but the question would be will he risk giving up a chance to run for the House again in order to run against Smith? If so, then you have to consider who has the ability to replace him. The question would be could Blumenauer find support among independents and moderate Republicans. I don't see it happening.

    I can't see any changes coming in terms of the make up of the Oregon Congressional Delegation anytime soon. That is unless Slick Gordo decides against running again, which could change the entire ball game.

  • LMAO (unverified)

    I think Erik Sten or Sam Adams would be happy to replace Earl, should he decide to run for the Senate.

  • John Mulvey (unverified)

    I'd love to see a competitive candidate go against Gordo in 2008. Certainly Kitzhaber is the dream candidate, as he would have been last time. I respect the man quite a bit, but my worst fear would be that he would spend the next two years hinting at running then decide not to go at the last minute. (He wouldn't do that, would he?)

    There are other credible candidates, I think. DeFazio and Blumenauer to name two. As long as we're brainstorming: what about Bev Stein or Rob Drake or Pete Sorenson? Why not Tom Potter?

    My picks for leading candidates to take Blumenauer's seat if he runs for Senate are Erik Sten, Kate Brown and Bev Stein.

    For DeFazio's seat if it came open: Pete Sorenson. (He would kick ass in that job, by the way.)


  • LT (unverified)

    Sorenson might do a great job --- as long as the people who vote for him for county are willing to campaign for him for Congress.

    I recall how Peter DeFazio got elected. There was a lot of "we need a woman in Congress " nonsense among people who didn't live in the 4th District--one legislator even saying "anyone who doesn't vote for Margie Hendricksen doesn't support women". That primary was 20 years ago. The good folks in the Eugene area who'd been voting for both Peter and Margie for years had the opportunity to decide which one would be better suited for Congress, and Peter won that primary.

    If Sorenson could win the primary with lots of enthusiastic supporters, he could win the general.

  • nwpopulist (unverified)

    If Kitzhaber doesn't run (and he probably won't), I think DeFazio would clearly be the next best choice. His populism will appeal to many independents and even conservatives. He has already demonstrated that by winning a predominantly rural district time after time.

    How about Bill Bradbury for OR-4 if DeFazio tries to jump to the Senate?

  • Don F (unverified)

    Stumbled across this scab site and it is better than reading the friggin' socialist rag or "dailey fish wrapper" like Lars says. I'm letting my frinds in on it so they can get a big laugh at all the stupid remarks like it did.

    What a bunch of morons.

  • James (unverified)

    Send Mr.Smith Home

    I am sure Gordon Smith is a very nice person. Nonetheless, the nation and Oregon need better leadership right now.

    We need someone good to run against Gordon Smith.

    First, he voted for this war.

    In just the last five days the Oregonian wrote the following:

    Smith Optimistic On Future Of Iraq By Colin Fogarty PORTLAND, OR 2006-05-23 After a visit to Iraq, Oregon Senator Gordon Smith says he sees the war-torn country as a glass half full, rather than half empty.

    I am sure that is the way it looked for the day and a half he spent in Iraq in the Green Zone. But that is not what is going on there. You all know that and I bet most of you have never been there.

    We need someone to run against Gordon Smith who is not on the "usual suspects" listed above. I will not insult my fellow Democrats but we can do better...a lot better. How about an Iraqi war Vet?

    Let Senator Smith face someone that had to go there to carry out the policy he voted for? How about a great small business person who has had to deal with the administrations economic polices that are bankrupting the country?

    In the next few days I will start to layout just some of the reasons why the Senator can and should be defeated. Anyone who would like to have a conversation about this email me at [email protected]

  • James (unverified)

    Send Mr. Smith Home.

    I recently posted providing one of many reasons why we should send Mr. Gordon Smith home. That is his record on the Iraq War. Here is one more.

    In the recent election cycle when he was not running for office he received a $20,000 contribution from the Home Depot PAC. This was the largest contribution Home Depot made in the country for any candidate in that election cycle. This could be to influence his votes on natural resources issues or it could be (more likely) due to his position on the Senate Finance Committee. The finance committee decides how much a company can deduct from its taxes for CEO pay.

    In a May 23 2006 article Business Week points out the CEO of Home Depot had total compensation over five years of $200.0 million dollars. http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/may2006/pi20060523_284791.htm This was despite the fact that the total return to the Home Depots shareholders was down 13% in the same period. In addition, the Home Depot CEO’s “guaranteed bonus” was $3.0 million each year the larges of any of America’s largest companies.

    If you want to talk about Sending Mr. Smith Home write to me as many already have at [email protected].

    I will post again soon.

  • Rod (unverified)

    It's time to send Gordon Smith home for good. He just doesn't get it about the Iraq war. It is not about terrorism and never has been. We attacked a soverign nation without justification, killed many thousands of people needlessly, probably commited war crimes at the behest of our top national leaders and on and on. Anybody that is on this train wreck of a government can't be very bright if they don't have sense enough to get off.

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