Could Oregon become a swing state in the presidential?

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In my mind, there's no better election analyst out there than Nate Silver. First as an anonymous polling blogger and now as a columnist and analyst for the New York Times, he's got an approach that's deeply quantitative.

In most presidential elections, Oregon makes the early list of 17 swing states - but as the races moves on, we're never on the list of half-dozen swing states. This year, however, there never was a big list -- we seemed to have moved immediately to the short list. And Oregon's not on it.

Unless you're listening to Nate Silver:

If there is an unheralded state that could be in play this year, it might be Oregon. Oregon has been sparsely polled, but the most recent survey found a tight race there, and the state has been extremely competitive in the past — like in 2000 when Al Gore won it by less than a full percentage point.

Of course, Oregon 2000 featured Ralph Nader. What do you think? Could Oregon get in play this year? Does the lack of a Governor's race and Senate race matter (in terms of turnout and a coordinated campaign operation)?

Comments

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    No, Oregon will not be a swing state.

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    Let me repeat what I said on Facebook about a week ago about another completely absurd lede: whenever you see a news headline that ends in a question mark?

    The answer is always NO.

    FOX, of course, was the one who originated this kind of media troll.

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    Anyone who believes that Oregon will not be in play in this election cycle would do well to look at Wisconsin to see how quickly things can change. 8 years ago, that state was an analogue to Oregon. Now it is ground zero for the new normal in politics -- campaigns that are won by independent expenders rather than by candidates and state political systems that are overwhelmed by corporate and ideological interests who have proven conclusively that the unions cannot compete in spending with corporations in "must win" races, and that no amount of grassroots campaigning can overcome a 7 to 1 spending advantage.

    Citizen's United was checkmate for the ability of corporations and billionaire's to dominate our federal election process. Obama will likely be outspent by 1.5 - 1 or 2 - 1, and the effect of that should have a trickle down effect on down ticket races, including races for the state legislature.

    So, yes, Oregon will be far more competitive than people currently think, particularly if the national race is close enough either way to warrant a contested race here.

    One of the biggest things that the D's have going for them is that the last 2 Democratic governors have been willing to stand up to the public employees on critical issues -- Kitzhaber with education reform, and Kulogoski with PERS reform.

    Looking at Wisconsin, we see that those actions, so strongly opposed by the public employee unions, actually benefited them in the long run by taking the wind out of the sails of those who want to frame the question of government expenditures as a choice between protecting benefits for public employees and protecting vital services.

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      The thing that makes a 'swing state' a swing state is that they are big enough to fight over. For the most part, California and New York are safely blue, Texas safely red. Which leaves a number of 'mid sized' states who have enough electoral votes to fight over.

      Could Oregon be a swing state? I guess. Is 7 (or are we up to 8 nowadays?) electors enough to fight over? No.

      Instead, we'll see the same states we always hear about as battlegrounds. Florida, Ohio, Illinois. In the 20s of electors, middle ground in terms of demographics... That is where the fight will be.

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        Yes, 7 electoral votes are worth fighting over. Three of the 9 battleground states that are getting all the attentionare smaller than Oregon (Nevada-6, Iowa-6, and New Hampshire-4). The reason Oregon is ignored is because it is not a closely divided battleground, not because it has "only" 7 electoral votes.

        There's a great story on the 9 states that matter in the 2012 presidential election (and Oregon is NOT one of them) in June 8 New York Times. Check out:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/us/politics/9-swing-states-are-main-focus-of-ad-blitz.html?ref=politics

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      I don't know about the politics, but Kitz's ed reform is bad policy. Parachuting in more high priced administrators from out of state to fiddle with stuff distant from the classroom just isn't what's needed.

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      Yes and no. Wisconsin really isn't a fair gauge on the national trend since most exit polls had Obama beating Romney by between 5-10 points among voters yet Walker romped.

      I was just discussing this the other day with a friend who's wife is a public employee. To be frankly honest the current economic crisis stalled both our careers and income for roughly 3 years. His wife had steady guaranteed raises and never had a hiccup. On top of that she consistently complains about her coworkers in their 50s who are mailing it in on their jobs because they can't be touched. I also have a teacher friend who has had made it through 2 rounds of layoffs but only because she's been teaching for 8 years. She's been bounced around from school to school because she's the "new" person. She has also mentioned how teachers are mailing it in just to get to retirement.

      Myself, my friend, his wife and my teacher friend are all liberal pro-union folks who look at that and say something has to change.

      Still I don't think that this is how Oregon is going to play out. Wisconsin was far more in tune with the tea party than Oregon. The Republican wave here saw a genuine moderate semi-famous Republican (or as close as they get these days) get whomped by a retread Democrat during the same Republican wave. Allen Alley is good...but he's not that good. This is still a solidly blue state.

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    I'd wager both Oregon & Wisconsin are relatively safe spots for Obama this November.

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    I think not. 1) we vote by mail, which appears to me, could/would make it a special challenge to GOTV the last weeks before E Day 2) with the issue of resources, it makes sense to focus on swing states with larger numbers of delegates.

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      Paul Gronke would be the best to weigh in on this, but vote by mail is unlikely to matter one way or the other, since: 1. every academic study has shown vote by mail does not favor one party over the other, 2. half or more of Oregon voters do not turn in their ballot in until election day, 3. we have had that as the only system for over a decade, and it has been in place in one way or another as a major part Oregon elections for almost 20 years.

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        1) I am just stating a personal option. Please don't analyze and pick it apart. 2) I'm talking about the logistics and spending time and resources on people who may have already voted or will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to leave them alone until E Day. I, for one, turned off my land line until our primary was done to avoid robo calls.

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          Lea, the state's computer system tells campaigns who has already voted. The votes aren't counted but the fact that a vote has come in is recorded. Campaigns take already voted folks off their lists & don't call them, leave them off canvass turf maps etc. Voting early is a good way to cut down your junk mail.

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            I KNOW how it works. My point is mounting a GOTV with mail in ballots is time and resource intensive. It wastes both when you call voters, and they tell you they voted or they will vote for your candidate to get you off the phone. Or not answer at all. For the small # of delegates we have I doubt EITHER party will put much effort into Oregon.

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    I suspect and hope not, but don't dismiss it. We may have to work yet.

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    It will be interesting to see if the race for Mayor will help turn out votes up ticket for Obama.

    If that those campaigns gets people out to vote, I wouldn't worry too much about Obama losing.

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    Obama could lose a significant amount of the support he had in '08. And I won't blame anyone who refuses to support cyberterrorism as conducted by the Obama Admin. or the drone war which conveniently defines any adult male as being a militant or many other valid complaints against the Admin. Many young and idealistic voters are reasonably disillusioned.

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        Carla- I will bet you that Obama will indeed get far fewer votes than he did in '08, and a higher percentage of not voting/voting 3rd party will come from young voters than from any other demographic. I will bet you this happens. And, when it does, you could ask yourself why it did?

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    It's essential that we do not assume an Obama victory in Oregon. It is not a given, even though it is on every one of the DNC electoral maps that tracks the President to re-election.

    What has changed?

    1. The GOP and their billionare partners have a bottomless pit of money to spend that has been unleashed by Citizens United. The GOP can learn much by reading the green that Wisconsin provided. (I would hope WE can, too.)

    2. If Oregon polls are close, you can surely expect the aforementioned GOP dollarpalooza to get play here.

    3. Democratic registration numbers are down statewide. While Multnomah County has continued on a fairly even keel in terms of Dem registration (roughly waving between 220k and 228 during the last 4 years), Dem registration has dropped sharply beyond our Portland borders. From a peak of 929k in 2008, Dems dropped to 863k in 2010 (November #s). In most recent tallies, Dems are down to 833k, a drop off of another 30k. The Statewide GOP drop off was only 2k during the same 15 month period.

    4. Assuming we can put it over the top like we did in the Gov. race in 2010 is a huge mistake. While Gov. Kitz won by 22k, the race was too tight to be called until the next day. Further, most folks do not remember that there were 2 conservative candidates from the Constitution and Libertaian Parties that drew about 40k votes between them.

    5. Election energy to re-elect is never as intense as it is for an open seat: there is ALWAYs disappointed-drop-off factor.

    So, what the hell can we do? Pump it up! Engage with the campaign and other "down-ticket" races. Volunteer and bring a friend. Go to events; register your new neighbors and wear your cmapign chum proudly.

    Never, EVER, take an election for granted.

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    Oregon has not been subject to a voter suppression operation...the good thing for us in this. The bad news? Obama has lost support among the very progressive and the socially aware youth (witness Occupy Wall Street) and the disappointment with the administration's failure to prosecute Wall Street, his stepping up the illegal secret military ops, stepping up the attacks on our civil liberties and the prosecution of whistle blowers, his halfway measures on jobs and the economy, his failure to support union rights as he had promised, etc. doesn't give him much appeal for young people to think voting makes a difference. He still has appeal because of his support for GLBT rights.

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    Oregon is not a swing state. This is not 2000. Nate Silver is a great statistician but a terrible political analyst. The millenials are going 2-1 for Obama, and Latinos even more so. And there are more millenials and Latinos. Despite what the Naderites on this forum think, millenials are going all in for Obama. The Green Party will try to get on the ballot again by getting money from the GOP as they did before. But the Naderite Greens have been fully discredited. Add to that the GOP has a very weak candidate who is a corporate raider by profession and who is shown to be fully aligned with teabagger politics, and against women. Much as the Naderites would luv to see a Romney victory in Oregon, ain't gonna happen. Romney has written off Oregon. There are a handful (Wisconsin is not one of them.) of states in play: NC, VA, OH, FL, CO, and NV. Romney must win every one of them to gain the White House. Obama is leading in every one.

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      Just to support my statement about Latinos. Obama leads Romney 66-23 in just out poll, 3-1 margin. Now we need to make sure Oregon Latinos are registered. The GOP primary let us all know who is the white supremacist party in this country and what they would do with the presidency.

      http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2012/06/08/new-ld-poll-finds-latinos-favor-obama-over-romney-oppose-rubio-dream/

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    One reason Obama will win Oregon again and solidly: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77124.html Even if the Greens get enough GOP money to get on the ballot again.

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    Will Oregon vote for a private equity corporate raider for president? I’m from Oregon. Grew up in Southern Oregon in a timber economy now largely gone. This is how how private equity companies like Bain ruin an economy. Remember, another word for private equity is “corporate raider.” In Medford, Ore. area of Oregon there was a very successful timber company called MedCo. They had several mills and employed thousands of workers in high paying jobs. They owned millions of acres of timber growing land. They prided themselves in a policy of sustained yield in their harvest of timber. A supply of timber would always be there for their mills. Along came a private equity firm of corporate raiders, investors from Texas. They did a leveraged buyout of MedCo. In other words they did a hostile take over of a well functioning company that did not want to be bought out. They then proceeded to close all the mills, fire all the workers, loot the pension funds, and cut all the timber, shipping it overseas. These wealthy Texas raiders destroyed a progressive company that had functioned for generations as a job base for an entire region of Southern Oregon. Entire communities were thrown into poverty and unto government safety net programs. Lands were sold for real estate development with attempts to bypass land use laws. (I know because my father was running for mayor of Medford and was offered financial support if he would support their move to fire a city manager who insisted on enforcing land use laws.) So not only did this private equity company destroy and economic base but they corrupted the political process and public officials. My father lost the election, and his opponent won with the support of this private equity firm. This private equity firm left the government with a toxic waste dump to clean up and thousands of ruined lives to restore and laid waste to an entire forest. This is the legacy of Mitt Romney and the GOP. This is their economic plan for Oregon and America. Oregonians are not going to support this man.

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    Romney campaign program for Oregon- http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/11/497293/sununu-romney-public-sector/ Romney Campaign Chair: ‘Taxpayers Really Do Want To Hear There Will Be Fewer Teachers’

    And fewer factories and pensions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Fg0FW8N_8_Y

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    Nate's a superb statistician but that doesn't make him always a good political analyst, and this is a good example.

    Oregon is solid blue. We last went GOP in 1984. The last close presidential contest was 2000, when Gore won by 7000 votes, and Nader polled 77,000.

    I guess one out of six, with the one having a uniquely competitive 3rd party candidate, means we have been "extremely competitive in the past." That's generalizing from an N of 1, not good stats and not good politics.

    We'll be lucky to get a Biden visit this cycle.

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    If Bill Ryan and other shameless Party hacks are so secure of Obama's position in Oregon, while all the vitriol about someone pointing up fact about the crimes of Obama's foreign policy? Obama's Admin. itself has confirmed the stories about the cyberterrorism and the nature of the assassination list. And don't get me started on the environmental policy.

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