SurveyUSA: A big geographic split in the Senate race

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

There's a fascinating thing that's shown up in the latest SurveyUSA poll on the U.S. Senate race -- a big split between the Portland metro area and the rest of the state.

But first, an update to the shaded chart I produced last week that indicates margin-of-error. Last week, the possible outcomes ranged from Novick +4 to Merkley +12. This week, it's much closer with an edge back to Novick: somewhere between Novick +9 to Merkley +5.

Overall

While the gender gap I noticed last week continues to hold (with a big gain for Novick among men), the really interesting stuff is in the regional breakdown.

SurveyUSA reports two regions -- the Portland metro area and the rest of the state.

In the Portland area - with 69% of the overall electorate - Steve Novick has finally broken out of the 25-30% range he's been in, rocketing up to 41%.... a +10 advantage.

Portland

In the rest of the state - which is 31% of the overall electorate - Jeff Merkley has managed a 28-point turnaround in just six weeks, going from -13 to +15 against Novick. And all that gain has been his own, as Novick has been super-consistent, just varying from 22% to 26%.

Notportland

With such a close race, it's going to make for a fascinating election night watching the county-by-county returns. The question: Can Novick pile up big enough margins in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties to offset Merkley's big totals in the other 33 counties? Or put another way: can Merkley pile up big enough margins around the state to offset Novick's big totals in the metro area?

[Full disclosure: My firm built Jeff Merkley's website, but I speak only for myself.]

Comments

  • (Show?)

    The interesting thing to me about this poll is that Novick is strongest where Obama is strongest; Merkley does best with Clinton-leaning voters: downstate households and women. The race is certainly too close to call, but I'd rather be in Steve's position going into tomorrow based on the the relative strength of the Obama field operation.

    This is probably as good a place as any to congratulate both sides on an incredibly hard-fought but strong primary effort. I look forward to working with my Merkley brothers and sisters against Smith regardless of who prevails tomorrow. My gut says it will be Obama/Novick, but it's impossible to say. I do know this: this is the year we're taking out Gordon Smith. And I for one can't wait.

  • Don (unverified)
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    To be fair as well, most folks who know Novick live in the valley, especially PDX, whereas Merkley has deep roots across the state.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    The question: Can Novick pile up big enough margins in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties to offset Merkley's big totals in the other 33 counties?

    If Novick leads among the 69% of voters in the metro area, he doesn't need to lead by much to offset Merkley's lead among the 31% of voters in the rest of the state.

  • Joanne Rigutto (unverified)
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    Just out of curiosity, why do you think there's a rural/urban devide? I'm asking this question of everyone.

    Is it really just because the Portland metro area is more familiar with Novik and the rest of the state with Merkley, or is it something else? Do you, any of you here on the blog, think it's more familiarity and name recognition or is it platform, etc.?

  • (Show?)

    Don't forget about crosstab MoEs. At 31%, that would put the MoE somewhere around 7%. Doesn't negate the apparent edge, just saying.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    How much of the Portland surge do you think is people turning to the local papers' endorsements when weighing their decision now that a ballot is in their hands?

    And if this were strictly a valley-vs-elsewhere contest, hasn't it turned out lately that the valley wins?

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Nevermind that last question, it was debated in the last thread. It's a hypothetical anyway.

  • banned blogger (unverified)
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    "To everything, spin, spin, spin"

    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Jan 22, 2008 11:34:50 PM [...] As you well know, I post my disclosure on every blog post I write - and on every comment that I post on anyone else's blog. Seriously...

    Steve Novick - Endorsed by: The Medford Mail Tribune Ashland Daily Tidings East Oregonian Eugene Weekly The Source Weekly (Bend) The Forest Grove News-Times McMinnville News-Register The Hillsboro Argus Chuck Butcher

  • orexpat (unverified)
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    BB,

    You know what? This post was pretty spin free. It was straight forward, had analysis and an interesting take. Nice to have Kari back- and time for all of us to pull together regardless of what happens. Defeating Smith will take that.

  • (Show?)

    I've updated the headline on my post. It's now "geographic" rather "rural/urban". After all, there are some urban areas in the state that aren't in the Portland metro area -- and parts of the tri-county metro area are quite rural.

  • William (unverified)
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    The thing that struck me is that Novick seems to have trended opposite Candy Neville. I'd speculate that, 1) people view Novick and Neville as being less establishment than Merkley, and 2) people view a vote for a distant 3rd place as being wasted, and 3) assorted other things. This seems true in both rural and urban areas.

  • (Show?)

    Kari, just for completeness' sake, you should add a chart showing the percentages for each candidate based on their Portland area samples.

  • (Show?)

    Of course, there it is already. Nevermind. Too early for commenting coherently, it appears.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Just proves that they tend to drink and like more Merkley Kool-Aid in Eastern Oregon than normal people.

  • (Show?)

    Yo Eric, you do understand that the area that isn't Portland metro includes a lot of places that aren't in Eastern Oregon, right?

    For example, the entire Oregon Coast.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    My apologies on that one, Kari. However, there is a more of a mixture of former metro denizens who have moved to the coast than moved to Eastern Oregon. So you could say that it could come dowm to the "mixed" area of the Coast - the northen part in particular (from Florence to Astoria, which is big, but you get the idea).

  • (Show?)

    Eric - I resent your comment about people who don't support Novick as being abnormal. Who was it who was holding a sign saying "Keep the Senate weird"?

    All Oregonians, no matter where they live, can vote, and they can vote in whichever way they feel is best for them. To assign a normal v. abnormal label based on geography is totally unfair and doesn't help pull disparate groups together.

  • (Show?)

    Joanne Rigutto: Just out of curiosity, why do you think there's a rural/urban devide?

    Because people from other places in the state have an experience that the majority of Portlanders do not: they've met real live swing voters. They understand that while Portland will never vote for Gordon Smith because they don't like Jeff Merkeley, many people across the state will pick the Republican over a "weird" Portlander like Steve Novick.

    Also, there is a strain of anti-Democratic party hate that goes through a substantial minority of the electorate in Portland. Very often you see it expressed on BlueOregon. These people view politics with suspicion - as soon as anyone actually accomplishes something positive, they're suspect. In elected officials, they're looking for entertaining screamers, more than anything else.

    But that doesn't really play well in the rest of the State.

  • (Show?)

    Did it occur to anyone that the places the candidates aren't able to visit with any regularity or deep coverage are likely to be swayed most by TV advertising? Who had 5 or 6 hundred grand on the table in ads out in the hinterlands?

  • trishka (unverified)
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    well, i wouldn't assume that merkley is going to win in all of the other 33 counties, either. i would be extremely surprised if he wins benton county, for one.

    but the point is well, taken, with the averages over all the non-pdx counties.

  • Runtmg (unverified)
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    It will be interesting to see how this vote shapes up. I am beginning to wonder if the formula for Liberal=Urban, Conservative=Rural whether it be democrat or Republican holds up. I am rather ignorant as to what voters in places like Josephine County want.

    I think that Portland will go Novick, although I am not sure how much so. Conversely, Merkley will likely win the other part of the state although again I don't know how much so.

    A couple of quick points, first no one is drinking anyones kool aide. That type of talk (I have done it as well as other people) does not help. Too often in Politics, we turn it into pro sports and not about the issues.

    I did support Novick until he was pegged by Merkley by his comments that he had made. In that moment, I realized that Novick's best strength which is his sharp wit, was also his greatest weakness.

    At the same time, I do agree with Novick supporters who slam the DLC and Chuck Schumer. I really struggled with that question but ultimately it is simple, I don't believe that there was anything malicious meant by the DLC towards Novick, but I do believe that this infusion of money caused Merkley not to go out and grass root fundraise the way Novick has had to.

    So I stayed out,

    but I do support Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish and Sam Adams all for their respective seats. Also Reagan Gray for her seat as well.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    ...trying to divide Oregon and the party, classy Kari. "Merkley is the choice of real Oregonians, not the city hacks."

    On another note, did you get the potassium cyanide pill from the campaign today?

  • (Show?)

    At the same time, I do agree with Novick supporters who slam the DLC and Chuck Schumer. ... I don't believe that there was anything malicious meant by the DLC towards Novick...

    Confusion in your alphabet soup there. I assume you mean DSCC - not DLC. The DLC hasn't been involved in this race, and it would be surprising if they were -- Jeff Merkley is far too progressive for them.

  • Bridget (unverified)
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    Eric, I agree with Localmom.

    I've met a ton of people in Pendleton, Roseburg, Coos Bay, Madras, all over who support Novick.

  • (Show?)

    BCM: ...trying to divide Oregon and the party, classy Kari.

    Reality, meet BCM. BCM, meet reality. No, don't turn your head like that. Pretending reality doesn't exist won't make it go away. Act your age, young man.

  • Lou (unverified)
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    Here's my wager:

    In addition to the Portland metro area, Novick will take Benton and Linn counties and that will be enough. I have had the exacta in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Let's see how I do tonight.

  • BCM (unverified)
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    Steven, you aren't making any sense but your red herring is much appreciated.

  • (Show?)

    "In addition to the Portland metro area, Novick will take Benton and Linn counties and that will be enough. I have had the exacta in the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Let's see how I do tonight."

    I will brazenly predict Novick wins Baker and Douglas counties.

  • trishka (unverified)
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    any thoughts on how lane county will go? would candy neville's home town advantage parlay into any kind of spoiler affect there?

  • (Show?)

    "Merkley is the choice of real Oregonians, not the city hacks."

    Well, I'm quite certain I never said that. As a resident of the city (the Kremlin, natch!) I'm sure that Portland residents are "real Oregonians" too.

    It's Dan Quayle who once said:

    Rural Americans are real Americans. There's no doubt about that. You can't always be sure with other Americans. Not all of them are real.

    And:

    It's rural America. It's where I came from. We always refer to ourselves as real America. Rural America, real America, real, real, America.
  • Jim (unverified)
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    Steve Novick is far too liberal and abrasive to ever win a statewide race. Giving him the nomination means six more years for Gordon Smith. Let's all hope Democrats do the right thing and nominate Jeff Merkley.

  • for what it's worth (unverified)
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    Kari,

    I'm confused. Where are your 69 and 31 numbers from? According to the most recent SOS numbers I can find the tri county area has only 42% of the total electorate and 48% of the Democratic electorate. Am I missing something? And I'm assuming your post took into consideration these smaller numbers of D's across the rural counties compared to overall electorate??

  • (Show?)

    "Steve Novick is far too liberal and abrasive to ever win a statewide race. "

    Far too liberal and abrasive to win the primary, too.

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