2010: Polling on Kitzhaber, DeFazio, Bradbury, Novick

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

I don't how I missed this, but Moore Insight - that's Gordon Smith's pollster - recently released a poll on the 2010 gubernatorial race.

Well, sort of. Despite his GOP client base (or perhaps, because of?), he declined to test the numbers for any of the Republicans looking at running for Governor. He also didn't do a head-to-head, testing only favorability ratings.

So, take with however many grains of salt you think are appropriate. Here's the statewide numbers:

FavorableUnfavorableNever heard of
& No opinion
Kitzhaber49%21%30%
DeFazio48%17%35%
Bradbury29%10%62%
Novick14%4%82%

Here's the numbers among Democrats:

FavorableUnfavorableNever heard of
& No opinion
Kitzhaber63%12%25%
DeFazio64%9%27%
Bradbury42%5%53%
Novick23%4%73%

Here's what pollster Bob Moore had to say:

Looking ahead to the General Election, we are going to give the “strongest Democrat [sic] candidate today” award to Peter DeFazio. Why? Although Kitzhaber has a slightly better image score than DeFazio among Independents, Republicans are more negative about Kitzhaber than they are about DeFazio. And naysayers who think DeFazio is a non-starter as a candidate outside of his district are in for a surprise. Although he is less well known than Kitzhaber in the Portland metro area, DeFazio’s image holds up nicely in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties, while Kitzhaber’s unfavorable ratings hover around 25% everywhere outside of Multnomah County.

Over at the O, Jeff Mapes took a look at Bradbury and Novick:

[T]he two candidates much more likely to get into the race - former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and former U.S. Senate candidate Steve Novick - both have a long way to go when it comes to having strong name ID.

I was surprised that Bradbury, after more than nine years in statewide office, isn't more well-known by voters. Sixty-one percent of the electorate said they either didn't have an opinion of him or hadn't heard of him.

Novick, who narrowly lost the Senate Democratic primary last May, certainly attracted a lot of ink for his unorthodox campaign (which included frequent mention of the hook that Novick has in place of his left hand). But 81 percent of the electorate basically is unfamiliar with him - including 73 percent of Democrats.

What do you think? Which of the four do you think would make the strongest run? Who would you support? Are you holding out hope for another candidate entirely? If so, what sort of candidate are you looking for?

Comments

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    This would be the same John Kitzhaber previously promoted on Blue Oregon for Surgeon General and various Cabinet posts despite his frequent statements that he is uninterested in a job in DC. So tell me, has he indicated that he wants to be governor again?

  • Tyler (unverified)
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    Novick all the way. I'm dumbfounded as to why more people are not aware of him.

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    The Novick results make me mighty suspicious of the poll. How is it that three-quarters of Democrats can't remember his name from less than a year ago?

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    (1) To me they are each traditional progressive Democrats. I could support any of them. I think any of them could win a statewide race against most Republicans. I am currently undecided as to my favorite. See # 3 below.

    (2) I am surprised by the large percentages of Never Heard of/ No Opinion for Bradbury (62%, 53%) and Novick (82%, 73%). I do not know how to interpret those figures. Whether, for all their campaigning and publicity, it is just hard to become known, or whether for some reason the public has not taken to them. I think the Democrats have a large and talented bench. I would generally encourage others to run for Governor. I don’t know whether those Bradbury/Novick figures will encourage or discourage others.

    (3)I do not think being a “traditional progressive Democrat” is now good enough. We are in the midst of a historic revolution in the global economy. 2-3 billion are rising out of poverty to create an enormous global middle class. Roughly 80% of global economic growth over the next few decades will be in emerging markets around the globe. China’s economy alone is forecast to be twice the size of the US economy in 2050. I’m looking for a Governor to lead Oregon into these rough waters. One who understands that we need to have creative, innovative and internationally sophisticated workers and businesses. One who understands the importance for Oregon economic future of sending high school students to study abroad and of strong Mandarin programs in Oregon schools. I have not heard the four leaders mentioned speak to these issues.

  • Gordon Morehouse (unverified)
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    I don't understand how Novick's unknown numbers are so high. He had TV ads and such, and he's the most unknown? Something ain't right.

    If I were a registered Democrat I would have supported him over Merkley in the primary, so without knowing anything about the others, all I can personally say is that I'd support Novick were he to make it to the general.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I don't care who runs as long as they can capture the crucial "Keep Portland Weird" demographic.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    I don't care who runs as long as they can capture the crucial "Keep Portland Weird" demographic.

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Has Kitzhaber even mentioned a passing interest in running again? I liked him, but thought that he had hung it up for good at the end of his last term.

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    The Novick results make me mighty suspicious of the poll. How is it that three-quarters of Democrats can't remember his name from less than a year ago?

    Candidates and their supporters are often stunned by how fast name-ID drops when the TV ads stop running.

    Has Kitzhaber even mentioned a passing interest in running again?

    Yes. In 2006, he actively considered challenging Governor Kulongoski in the primary. He eventually decided against running, but I'd certainly say that qualifies as "a passing interest in running again".

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    Yeah, I agree with Alworth. I have a very hard time believing that 73% of Oregon Democrats don't have a clue who Steve Novick is.

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    I'd have to go with Novick or DeFazio. Two very dfferent guys. Both are really intelligent, and both seem to have extremely favorable self-images.

    Novick would undoubtedly be the more left wing of the two and would (in my opinion) be less likely to be a compromiser or consensus builder, while DeFazio might be a bit more pragmatic than I'm comfortable with.

    I could live with Bradbury I guess, but Kitzhaber seems to do poorly outside of his circle of cheerleaders, and my experience with him is that he's never happier than when he's "stuck it to" someone that has had the misfortune to deviate from his orthodoxy, and facts be damned.

    I'd fight this guy all the way through the primary.

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    The numbers who have no opinion of Bradbury and Novick don't surprise me at all. The average Oregonian isn't reading Blue Oregon. The average Oregonian thinks about politics 5 minutes a week.

    Unless and until you're a regular feature on the news, through constituent outreach, etc., for an extended period of time (and not just during an election), it's virtually impossible to build real name recognition, along with favorable/unfavorables. Remember, some of the people in that last category have, in fact, heard of them, they just don't have an opinion.

    The only thing that surprised me somewhat was how close DeFazio and Kitzhaber are. I was surprised that Kitzhaber doesn't have an advantage, but in hindsight, it has been 7 years since he was Governor and there's a lot of new voters since then.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thank you Jonathan!

    Elections are decided by the folks you describe as thinking about politics about 5 minutes a week (unless there is an issue they really care about, which may be more about the city or school board level than state level) who tune in to elections maybe a month or so ahead of time, or when the ballots arrive.

    Even if every BO activist promised to support one candidate in any primary, that alone would not win the primary. Time for activists to admit that.

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    How is it that three-quarters of Democrats can't remember his name from less than a year ago?

    I asked this question to a fellow political scientist recently, the poll came up in a discussion and he bluntly said I was giving voters way too much credit by expecting them to remember Steve Novick a year after his campaign ended.

    I'm sure had the pollster asked, "What are your opinions on the guy with the hook?" Perhaps the numbers might be different.

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    Given that DeFazio has only run statewide once, his numbers are terrific. Kitzhaber's are obviously also very good. Why WOULD Moore publish results showing Democrats doing so well? *** An anecdote - Shortly after the primary, I was in Powell's on Hawthorne and heard someone say: "Hey, it's Sam Adams!" I looked around for Sam and saw a guy coming toward me and saying "you're Sam Adams, right?" Like Carl, I suspect that my 'heard of' numbers would go up at least a bit if Moore said "little guy with the hook' (of course, Bradbury's would go up if they said 'former Secretary of State'). I was not too surprised by my numbers after one primary race in a year in which people were very focused on the Presidential -rather pleased that the negatives were so low, given there was a fair amount of money spent sending the message that I was a very mean man. Recognition was much higher in the Portland media market than in the rest of the state, reflecting the fact that we were forced to spend the vast bulk of our limited tv ad money up north and had very little left for Medford, Eugene and Bend markets. That said, I'm delighted by the 6% to 1% favorable / unfavorable ratio in 'eastern / southern / coastal' parts of the state - hey, I'm not just a Portland guy, au contraire I'm incredibly popular in the more rural parts of the state, at least among the fourteen people who have ever heard of me!

  • JTT (unverified)
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    This would be the same John Kitzhaber previously...

    And it's the same Kitzhaber who left office declaring that the state was "ungovernable" (coincidentally when the Republicans controlled the Legislature). But now that Dems hold supermajorities in both chambers, it might be interesting again? Puh-lease. Kitz had his chance and he was polarizing as hell. I'm all for DeFazio.

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    I would be fine with DeFazio or Novick, but would like to see Kitzhaber run again as well.

    Keep in mind this is an open primary with no incumbent. It would be nice to see a nice variety of people run.

  • JayZee (unverified)
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    Have to agree with JTT about how polarizing Kitzhaber was in his later years. He was never a very good candidate (i.e., not disciplined) to begin with (Lucky his two opponents were Bill Sizemore and Denny Smith).

    I think his "ungovernable" comment, Dr. No reputation and highly questionable budget priorities would come back and bite him in a general election against the republicans. He certainly wasn't Mr Popular with legislative democrats when he left office.

  • JayZee (unverified)
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    Have to agree with JTT about how polarizing Kitzhaber was in his later years. He was never a very good candidate (i.e., not disciplined) to begin with (Lucky his two opponents were Bill Sizemore and Denny Smith).

    I think his "ungovernable" comment, Dr. No reputation and highly questionable budget priorities would come back and bite him in a general election against the republicans. He certainly wasn't Mr Popular with legislative democrats when he left office.

  • LT (unverified)
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    JayZee, thank you for making a point I had tried to make in another context.

    If a majority of voters consider a candidate
    "polarizing ", if they believe that person's campaigns in the past show that person was "never a very good candidate ", if the candidate has made a remark in the past which bothered a large number of people, that candidate will either lose the primary or lose the general. Period. But a poll this early can't answer that question--many people would say "didn't we just finish an election year?". Only political junkies care about this stuff now.

    However, if the attitudes mentioned above turn out to be a minority position, if there are a bunch of supporters who persuade their friends to take a serious look at their candidate (but allow those friends to make up their own minds), if it turns out that a candidate has a broad grass roots appeal rather than relying just on paid ads and consultants, if ordinary folks who seldom pay attention to a candidate are saying nice things about that person, that candidate has a real chance.

    Regardless of who the candidate is, whether candor or not following a template which candidates are supposed to follow bothers political professionals, or any number of other variables.

    Now, specifically about Kitzhaber:

    I still remember bantering with a nonpolitical friend in 1994 who decided to attend the Rotary candidate series and hear the Gov. candidates. A citizen like that telling friends one candidate was just a slick politician and the other (in this case Kitzhaber) had so much substance he took notes is going to be more valuable support in any campaign than a candidate who practices "message discipline" or otherwise fits someone's view of a good or "disciplined" candidate.

    A candidate who provides concrete information is likely to be more successful than a candidate who uses sloganeering or TV commercials as the main form of campaigning.

    I realize that saying such things is heresy in certain quarters, and that my philosophy is different than some folks who do politics for a living. I happen to think Obama is a candidate with this type of public support for serious reasons, not the "personality" garbage some like to spew. People who supported a candidate after reading one or both of his books are not just supporting a celebrity.

    I have known Dr. John Kitzhaber for a quarter of a century and Peter DeFazio for almost as long. I regard both as a breath of fresh air, whether they would pass the "disciplined candidate" test or not.

    It would be interesting to see a multi-candidate race with Kitzhaber and/or with others in a series of debates on actual issues. THAT would be a worthwhile primary, no matter who won.

    Oh, and about this crack: " He certainly wasn't Mr Popular with legislative democrats when he left office."

    There are something like 12 Democrats in the current legislature who were in office in 2001, the first session with a new Gov. And "legislative Democrats" is a broad brush--did you personally talk with all those legislators and they all were tired of Kitzhaber when he left? Because even if there was one legislative Democrat who was sorry to see Kitzhaber leave office, that negates a generality like someone being unpopular with "legislative Democrats".

    And the electorate now is different than it was 8 years ago. We really don't know how voters would react to a spirited primary and 2 new candidates.

  • ag (unverified)
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    Kitz. No doubt. Peter should stay where he is anyway, though he deserves better; he deserves to be home with his family.

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    Whoever runs for Governor, I hope we can expect that they will do more than just hang out passively in Salem and speak to the occasional Rotary and City clubs. With the decline in political and civic media coverage over the last generation, most people really don't understand what is broken, why things are broken and what the solutions might be. More than ever, we need a governor who will use the pulpit to educate the public in new, innovative, and energizing ways and someone who will offer a range of options for legislators and voters to consider. This will take intensive public outreach resources that will need to be sustained throughout their term and would likely involve statewide technology and lots and lots of public forums. Modern media is not currently providing useful widespread public discourse, so it is up to governors and mayors, etc. to fill the void.

    All the candidates mentioned have tremendous gifts and could rise to the challenge of redefining the role of Governor. Those of us who care about the state should do our part to encourage candidates to tell us exactly how they are going to help the public understand how messed up things have become as a result of excessive property tax limitations, sentencing guidelines, kicker nonsense, and so forth. And how they are going to seek ideas from the public (not just the Salem interest groups) about ways out of the mess.

  • Mike (unverified)
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    As a new Oregon resident, I know of DeFazio the most, and I do like him very much as well as most Oregonians seem to. The biggest problem I have though with him running for governor, is that his voice lost in the Congress would be huge. He's one of the few in congress that we need a growing legion of to bring back more representation to the people instead of for corporate and other well-heeled special interests. Many of those there now, both Republicans and some Democrats, don't seem to represent people as much and likely won't until we can get some serious public campaign financing in at the federal level. We need folks like DeFazio to stick it out there so that when we get enough of new congress people like him, we can change Waahington for the better. At that point, hopefully more of them will make the transitions to other positions of power like governor of Oregon, etc.

    He's also been a great voice for increasing government transparency with his joining the fights against taking away our civil liberties and using states secrets privilege to cover up criminal misconduct there.

    But if he wants to run for governor, I'd be behind him 100%

  • LT (unverified)
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    Chris, this is very wise:

    "More than ever, we need a governor who will use the pulpit to educate the public in new, innovative, and energizing ways and someone who will offer a range of options for legislators and voters to consider...... intensive public outreach resources that will need to be sustained throughout their term and would likely involve statewide technology and lots and lots of public forums."

    I think you have done an excellent job of describing the ideal candidate.

    I believe the best candidate for Gov. will be the one who follows the model of Wyden for Sen. Jan. 1996. Lots of debate on issues, lots of public forums, and keeping the promise to this day of a town hall meeting in every county every year.

    There are sometimes conversations among people who follow politics along the lines of whether someone picks a candidate now (as in "If DeFazio runs against Kitzhaber for Gov, I like those choices and would back DeFazio" ) or waits to see how the campaign develops.

    Chris, I think many folks would back the kind of campaign you describe in this quote, regardless of the name of the person.

    Although I know everyone so far mentioned as a possible candidate, I'd prefer the kind of campaign discussed in the quote--my philosophy fits with that, and also that sort of candidate is easier to persuade non political friends to support.

  • Rosie Stephens (unverified)
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    I have lived here since 2000, vote straight "D" and like others are questioning the results of the polling, and the pedestal some seem to put our former Governor on when I recall his last couple of years. I like DeFazio and think he serves us all by remaining in Congress.
    Steve Novick would be the candidate I would like to see run and win. He is smart, articulate, passionate and would be a much more visible governor than the current one. If anyone wants to see and hear Steve Novick.......come to the Willamette Women Democrats monthly program on Wednesday, May 13th. Where: Oswego Lake Country Club, 4 pm to 6 pm. check our website: http:// www.w2dems.com for further details. I am the Program Chair for the Willamette Women Democrats.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Rosie,

    Thank you for the intelligent comment. I live way too far from Lake Oswego to attend your meeting.

    However, it would be interesting to know what Steve says. Perhaps you can report to us about his remarks and the Q & A.

    What does he think of HB 2531 and the soccer deal in general?
    How would he advocate filling in the budget gap?

    How would he answer Rep. Richardson basically calling for an end to the Earned Income Tax Credit?

    Someone sent me Richardson's newsletter containing this item:

    The extreme ends of the earnings chart reveal differences that are even more dramatic. Oregon’s lowest wage earners are not only exempt from paying taxes, the state sends them $20 million in total cash payments. More than 200,000 taxpayers (tax-receivers?) benefit from Oregon’s Earned Income Tax Credit and Working Families Child Care Credit. Conversely, at the high end of the income scale, Oregonians who are in the top 1% of income earners pay 23% ($1.1 billion) of the entire personal income tax bill.

    I'm sure Steve could have some juicy remarks about that.

    For those of you who have forgotten, the former Speaker Pro Tem is somewhat mellowed from those days, but FWIW, here is the story about him from BO back then

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/05/representative_.html

  • LT (unverified)
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    http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/05/governors_race_2010_let_the_ba.html#comments

    is a very interesting Oregonian discussion.

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