It's official: We've got a horse race

Marc Abrams

For anyone who doubted that Gordon Smith's tactics in misleadingly embracing Gov. Kulongoski and Barack Obama were the signs of a scared politician...RassmussenReports.com just posted a poll showing Jeff Merkeley leading Gordon Smith by two points, 43% to 41%.  Clearly, Gordo's attempts to paint himself as "moderate" or, more cynically, "Demo-light," are failing. 

There's still a long way and a lot of work before November, but we clearly have the opportunity to send Smith back on that flight to Pendleton...assuming the airlines haven't cut it by then.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    While only one poll, and there are likely to be others showing Smith ahead, this puts to rest the debate, can Smith be beaten? It also says that most of the money that Smith has been pouring into ads this early as he tries to define Jeff in negative ways has gotten him nowhere. In fact my personal guess is that it has hurt him. He has lost grounds with Republicans, who probably don't like his ad cozying up to Obama, and with Democrats that see him more and more as a typical two-faced Republican incumbent.

    It's kind of ironic that Smith lost his first Senate race against Wyden because his ads were so negative and here he is again pursuing the same losing strategy.

  • RichW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think he lost to Wyden because in that first election he embraced wingnuts like Lon Mabon, Sizemore, and the measure 5 groupies.

    The second time he ran he distanced himself from the far right and tried to come on as a "centrist". He is just following the same strategy in this election.

  • (Show?)

    Rich,

    The points you make are also valid, but with the polls showing a tied race and with a large majority of the electorate disgusted with the trashing on both sides, Wyden announced that he would stop the negative ads with only a few days left. He pulled ahead that weekend and my memory is that the sense in the media at the time was that Wyden's announcement made the difference.

  • (Show?)

    It's awesome to see Smith make the same mistakes Democrats made through much of the 90s and the first part of this decade. If you accept and embrace the idea that the other side is right, voters will always choose the real Democrat (or Republican) over the one who fakes it for six months before every election.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Yes, John, you are right--all sorts of articles at the time saying 100% positive was the deciding factor.

    "Wyden announced that he would stop the negative ads with only a few days left. He pulled ahead that weekend and my memory is that the sense in the media at the time was that Wyden's announcement made the difference."

    And don't forget that there were quite a few 3rd party votes--as much protesting the negative tone and liking the down to earth positive quality of one of those candidates as anything else.

  • RinoWatch (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Marc, What in your estimation makes the Rassmussen poll(s) "official"? If not mistaken wasn't it Rassmussen that just a few days ago said that BHO & McCain were tied up?

    You're not postin' on our time are ya? ;-)

  • RichW (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Rassmussen polls the prez race daily. I surf his website with my morning coffee.

    Rassmussen himself is a Republican but his polling seems to be without his political bias. I think he is rated 3rd in the nation as to accuracy. Nonetheless, I don't think Marc was calling his poll "official" and was just using a figure of speech.

    (note: Rassmussen current polling indicates a victory for Obama if the elections were held today)

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is great news. I never expected Merkley to close the gap this soon. Whatever campaign theme Smith thinks he's using, I hope he sticks with it!

  • JustAsking (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Gordon Smith, August 22, 2006:

    The senator quickly dismisses Democratic criticism of his votes. "I've beaten them more than they've beaten me," he says. "The Democratic Party is not my constituency. These are people that believe in socialism. I don't." Link to Gordon Smith's website

    Imagine the outrage if Ron Wyden said that Republicans are not his constituency because they are all fascists.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Good post, JustAsking. Smith is a mega-phony, trying to parade as the epitome of a moderate when he's clearly well to the right.

    This year, he better pray that McCain has quite a resurgence against Obama, because I can see Barack bringing some pretty wide coattails for Merkley. It was quite a miscalculation when Smith portrayed himself as Oregon's Barack.

  • Pedro (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Things to do to help Gordon Smith retire later this year:

    1) Put a Merkeley lawn sign in your front yard 2) Put a Merkeley bumper sticker on your bike and your car 3) Volunteer to work on the Merkeley campaign 4) Donate $100 dollars or more to Jeff Merkeley right now 5) Budget to donate more later 6) Talk to family, friends, and co-workers about the race 7) Write letters to the editor of all local publications including Pamplin's suburban rags and the Oregonian

    • Pedro -
  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Justasking:

    Gordon Smith, August 22, 2006:

    The senator quickly dismisses Democratic criticism of his votes.

    "I've beaten them more than they've beaten me," he says. "The Democratic Party is not my constituency. These are people that believe in socialism. I don't."

    Link to Gordon Smith's website

    Imagine the outrage if Ron Wyden said that Republicans are not his constituency because they are all fascists.

    Bob T:

    Oh, here we go again. Benito Mussolini didn't see any difference, and he was there.

    As for Smith, he probably doesn't know what either word means. It was just a talking point to him. His voting record proves that he doesn't know what it means.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Marc Abrams:

    There's still a long way and a lot of work before November, but we clearly have the opportunity to send Smith back on that flight to Pendleton...assuming the airlines haven't cut it by then.

    Bob T:

    I'm surprised he's still there, considering the chances a Republican has in any other state-wide race these past 12 or so years. Maybe the difference has been that old bagman value that helped Packwood and Hatfield, two dreadful schmucks, get re-elected over and over again. Having the clout to send money back to one's state is not a policy position and thus skews elections. I thought we were supposed to choose people because of the issues.

    I knew a number of Democrat lefties who voted for Hatfield because they didn't want the state to lose his connections to the money bag, even though they disagreed with him almost all of the time. I call that being bought off, which is just what Hatfield and Packwood though, too. Not that I hear a lot about this now regarding Smith, but incumbancy has that value. Just the same, the sooner he's gone the sooner we can get over it.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bert Lowry (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bob, I know a number of lefties who voted for both Hatfield and Packwood because, by and large, they agreed with their positions. If you look at their voting records, it's hard to believe they were Repubicans. Of course that was before the lunatic fringe took over the Republican Party. These days, neither one would make it out of the primary.

  • (Show?)

    Yes we have a horse race -- but we've had one all along. Mark's right that "There's still a long way and a lot of work before November, but we clearly have the opportunity to send Smith back on that flight to Pendleton."

    But to do that we have to let people out there in the hustings know who Merkley is. Many never heard of him and know nothing much about partisan political differences. They have to see and hear him make sense. They have to see him on TV, hear him on country music radio, and perhaps even read about him in the local small newspapers.

    That will cost real money. As near as I can tell, Gordon Smith has (or has had) NINE MILLION DOLLARS while Merkley has (or has had) only three million. No matter how thin you slice it, money facilitates exposure and exposure wins elections and gets inert voters out to vote.

    Pedro's advice is clear and direct to the point. We have to come up with the bucks to finance Merkley's communications. That's it; that's the bottom line. If we want good government we have to pay for it.

  • Fr. John-Mark Gilhousen (unverified)
    (Show?)
    Posted by: Bob Tiernan | Jul 16, 2008 11:30:44 PM I'm surprised he's still there [...] Maybe the difference has been that old bagman value that helped Packwood and Hatfield, two dreadful schmucks, get re-elected over and over again. Having the clout to send money back to one's state is not a policy position and thus skews elections. I thought we were supposed to choose people because of the issues.

    All the more surprising since Hatfield and Packwood could more accurately described as "moderates" than Smith. Both opposed the Vietnam war, had decent environmental records for Republicans, and Packwood actually came out pro-choice during his first campaign, at a time when that was considered a "third rail."

    Smith doesn't even live up to the moderate wing of his own party, let alone the "democrat light" image he's hawking this year.

    Disclaimer: Although I serve as a state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America, my comments here reflect only my personal opinions.

  • (Show?)

    Well said, John-Mark.

    One thing that I don't see Merkley's media folks doing nearly enough is calling Smith's bluff by comparing him to genuinely moderate Republicans from Oregon's past. Hatfield and Packwood would certainly seem to be perfect choices for just such a comparison.

    Personally, I'd like to see a TV ad comparing Smith to Hatfield and Packwood.

  • StopGordonSmith (unverified)
    (Show?)

    This is a great time to let your friends know about the huge differences between progressive Jeff Merkley and 90%-with-Bush Gordon Smith. Send around a link to StopGordonSmith.com so that they can learn about Smith's anti-choice, anti-middle class, and pro-special interest record.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Bert Lowry:

    Bob, I know a number of lefties who voted for both Hatfield and Packwood because, by and large, they agreed with their positions. If you look at their voting records, it's hard to believe they were Repubicans.

    Bob T:

    Then I'm obviously not talking about these people you know. I'm talking about the ones who didn't agree with Packwood and Hatfield most of the time yet succumbed to the incumbency factor -- hardly a vote of conscience. That you can't see H and P as Republicans, even then, shows that you can't imagine the big tent aspect of either major party, yet that was the case for each. Interesting that there's proof in your statement that lefties can vote for anti-abortion candidates under some circumstances. But are you telling me that these leftie friends of yours preferred Hatfield to, say, Lonsdale?

    Anyway, the corruption and arrogance bred by rewarding schmucks because they are incumbents was found in Mark Hatfield. Some of you may recall that whenever the US government approved the clear-cutting of a portion of national forest land, the law stated that opponents would have their day in court, giving them a chance to convince a judge that this particular clear-cutting deal should not be approved. It was routine to have such a hearing. But Hatfield used to put riders in such clear-cutting amendments that barred those automatic hearings. Great - and this schmuck who kept people out of court got a US courthouse named after him (and it was named after him because he was able to get the money steered to Portland to build it, and had nothing at all to do with him having any integrity - indeed, as Liberty Magazine pointed out after seeing that Hatfield sent pork to the Hatfield Marine Science Center or whatever that is on the coast, when you're in Congress long enough you can send pork to projects that are named after you).

    That courthouse, by the way, should have been named Cascade Courthouse, or Mt Hood Courthouse or some other similar name -I really can't stand these politicians naming things after each other.

    Bert Lowry:

    Of course that was before the lunatic fringe took over the Republican Party. These days, neither one would make it out of the primary.

    Bob T:

    Well, like I said, the Democratic Party has far too many lunatics in charge as well, and is as much a small tent party as the Repubs.

    <h2>Bob Tiernan</h2>

connect with blueoregon