Two new polls offer a snapshot of where the race for Portland mayor stands today and where it may be headed.
First, a poll from SurveyUSA via KATU shows a tight race, with Hales just outside the margin of error:
A new poll shows Charlie Hales has a slight advantage over Jefferson Smith in the race to become Portland's next mayor, although there are plenty of voters who are still undecided.
According to the Survey USA poll conducted for KATU News, 34 percent of voters polled said they would vote for Hales, while 29 percent said they would vote for Smith. 37 percent were undecided.
The poll shows that Hales supporters tend to be white, older, upper-income voters. Smith has a lead among non-white, lower-income voters who are younger.
Reports of a second poll -- via Portland Mercury -- have either the Hales campaign or independent group testing a host of negatives against Smith, despite Hales' pledge to avoid such attacks:
The survey taker read off a list about Smith that was nowhere near as glowing. He was cast as someone hot-tempered and prone to violence while playing sports, habitually unable to show up to places on time, with a bad traffic record, and no support from Planned Parenthood (which hasn't endorsed either candidate in the race). And then asked, again, now how do you feel?
"I thought it was completely despicable," our source said. "I hope it backfires."
I don't really mind campaigns drawing contrasts with their opponents; elections are about choices, after all. But that's not the path that the two candidates have chosen in the race.
In multiple forums, both candidates have agreed to keep it positive and refrain from negative attacks. From KGW:
“I think it says a lot about Portland that we’ve conducted a positive campaign," said Charlie Hales. "We should be running on our merits, so I won’t add anything and we will continue to focus on our own strengths.”
The problem with the clean campaign pledge is the same as the problem with self-imposed limits on spending: Both depend on Hales being straight with voters.