Gubernatorial Poll Watching

The Associated Press reports today on a new poll by Riley Research. The poll reports that 36 percent of Democrats are undecided - while former governor John Kitzhaber is running even with Governor Ted Kulongoski, each in the high 20s. All other challengers are in the single digits.

Among Republicans, three-time statewide loser Kevin Mannix is leading strongly in the high 20s, while Jason Atkinson and Ron Saxton are in the single digits as well. In a separate question, rumored independent candidate Ben Westlund (a GOP state senator) comes up with 2% support statewide.

John Kitzhaber has not made his plans known, but advisers suggest a decision in the next six weeks.

"I don't know that he's made any decision or has any plans to run at this point," [former chief of staff Steve] Marks said. "He will probably think about it until the end of the year" before making a decision.

Riley Research polls have previously been controversial here at BlueOregon.


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    To save money (no doubt), the Riley poll is really ridiculous. By throwing Kitzhaber into the mix, you learn nothing about whether Kulongoski is vulnerable in a D primary if Kitzhaber doesn't run. Where will the Kitzhaber voters go? And if Kitzhaber does run, the other three D's (Sorenson, Walker, and Hill) almost certainly would not, so the poll probably understates Kitzhaber v. Kulongoski in a head-to-head D matchup.

    Riley then asks a general election question that simply throws everyone in together, which doesn't really measure anything real since in the end, it will be head-to-head (or head-to-head-to-head if Westlund really runs as an I).

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    I hope readers will take the trouble to follow the hypertext link back to Mike Riley's previous "controversial" polling. Except for showing Bush and Kerry neck-in-neck (which they may well have been at the time) his previous polling was basically right on the money.

    As for the Democratic gubernatorial primary, I think he's exactly right this time as well: Unless Kitzhaber runs, Kulongoski is a shoo-in to be renominated. If Kitzhaber runs, it's a horserace, but no sure thing for the former governor. Rumors of Ted's vulnerability are greatly exaggerated

  • LT (unverified)

    Jack may be right. Kitzhaber (should he run) would raise the level of debate. Westlund, should he run, would be a welcome wild card. Often he seems more in touch with the realities of everyday life than other politicians.

    And about the Republicans---a friend emailed me approving of the Saxton he'd seen at some event.

    I said "Sorry, he lost me when he suggested firing all public employees and then rehiring them to get around PERS. He just sounds like he believes that if we would all just accept the great and powerful Saxton without question, all problems would be solved. But that still would not guarantee him 16 votes in the Senate and 31 votes in the House, even if he did manage to get elected."

    Then I also said "For all the times I have disagreed with either of them, I would support Ted Kulongoski or Ted Ferrioli before I would support Saxton". Both seem to be more in touch with the real world.

    There needs to be a reality check in the conversation about the gov. campaign. No matter what pollsters and activists think, if a candidate can't get the machinist, the nurse, the orthodontist, the retail clerk, the farmer, the technical professional, the college student, and any other people who are paying more attention these days to preparations for Thanksgiving than to politics, the candidate will not win.

  • Mike Riley (unverified)

    Everyone I've talked with about Gov Kitzhaber's potential candidacy has led me to think that while the ex-gov may have a bit of an axe to grind, he must know something I don't about Oregon's tepid revenue picture or the 2007 House majority status.

    But what he does have -- at the very least -- is a huge political chit. If he doesn't run, a Kitzhaber endorsement could give other Democrat hopefuls a real boost. And in our August poll ( it was Ted vs. a bunch of single digit candidates. My own sense is that Kitzhaber's passion would be a national healthcare role come 2008.

    On the R side -- they have what the Ds had: The king and a growing list of opponents. So Jack, have you been fitted for your robe yet?

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