WW names Novick "best activist"; campaign releases poll

From the Willamette Week:

Best Local Political Activist

Steve Novick. Is anyone surprised that the short, mouthy dude with a hook for a hand comes out on top? Watch your back, Gordon. Runner-up: Jefferson Smith

Meanwhile, the Novick campaign released part of its recent polling data. According to The Hill:

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) leads Democrat Steve Novick by 23 points, 50-27, in a poll released Tuesday by Novick’s campaign.

Less than one-third of voters are committed to reelecting Smith in the poll, conducted by Democratic firm Lake Research Partners. Of the rest, 48 percent would consider someone else or were undecided, while 19 percent were committed to replacing Smith.

Comparing Novick to other candidates, the poll found that Novick's name-ID is higher than other potential candidates:

Novick also has slightly better name identification than several other potential Democratic candidates. While 46 percent of voters know who he is, 43 percent have heard of both radio talk show host Jeff Golden and businesswoman Eileen Brady.

State House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who has recently drawn the interest of the party, has a name ID of 39 percent.


  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    Novick supporters have a lot of work to do, but with the November 2008 sixteen months from now a Novick victory is possible - and essential if we are to replace an empty suit with a man of substance.

  • djk (unverified)

    46% name recognition is not bad sixteen months before the election, particularly for someone who's never held public office and isn't a media celebrity or a billionnaire. Bet you he can get 80% name recognition by the primary.

    And Smith, as an incumbent, has less than 33% committed to re-electing him, with another 17% (or so) leaning his way but subject to changing their minds. Basically, it sounds like he has the Republican vote locked up but will have to fight for the independents. Big surprise.

  • (Show?)

    I love Steve, even though I'm not sure whether I'm going to support him for the nomination. But frankly, the W.W. can kiss my a--. Every year they do a smear-job on our local pols ("The Good, the bad, the ugly"), apparently using Salem lobbyists as their prime sources of "dirt". And with that kind of input, people who judge "effectiveness" by how willing our pols are to sell votes to the highest bidder, the W.W. is too dirty to wipe your ass with.

    No, I like Steve Novick. Too bad he got smeared with the Willamette Week's recommendation.

  • ellie (unverified)

    Interesting... I'd like to see a geographic/demographic breakdown on those poll numbers.

  • TheRealAnon (unverified)

    I'd like to point out that, less than 48 hours after I called for verification of Novick's numbers, here they appear. I'm going to call this one a personal victory.

    That said, two things. First, WW didn't smear Novick with the quip about his mouthiness. If anything, it's a testiment to his fiesty nature. They also did tell Senator Smith to watch out, so that's a little promo for Novick. And at this point, any press is good press for Novick. I mean, he posted a link on his website to an article from the Register-Guard which discussed his meeting with 20 members of the Blackberry Pie Society. So I don't think there is a whole lot of careful image management at this point. Novick's guys are just trying to get the word going.

    On a different note, I am not quite as encouraged as everyone else with these poll numbers. I see a 19% replacement rate which screams that people are not actually dying for change. Seems like Smith needs to only "buy" 20% and he'll coast to victory. So I'm not too psyched.

  • (Show?)

    Too bad he got smeared with the Willamette Week's recommendation.

    It's not their recommendation, it's the recommendation of all the people who voted in the survey -- 2,178 of them.

    Disclaimer: I work on the Novick for U.S. Senate web site, but I speak only for myself, not the campaign.

  • nochickenhawk (unverified)

    I appreciate all this and especially the courage that Mr. Novick and others have shown in trying to mount a campaign against Bushie rubberstamp Smith. But folks, this ain't going to cut it and I don't care what the Willamette Weakly says.

    First, the democrat leadership in this state should be ashamed of themselves! I like Ted, Ron, Peter, and Earl but they piss me off. Why do they insist on giving Smith a free pass. There is no reason why Peter of Earl shouldn't be running against Smith. I don't care if Earl is trying to solve world hunger or Peter is trying to look at some papers. The priority is for Oregon to have two (2) let me repeat two (2) democrat US Senators! It is Ted's job to insist on this. Frankly I'm sick and tired of Wyden playing his collegiality act with Smith. How many times do I have to say check Bushie rubberstamp Smith's voting record. Ron is great but he is starting to get annoying on this Smith kissie facie thing. I'm sorry to wear everybody out on this matter. Promise that this is last time I will bring it up because I will be voting for John Fronmayer, the Independent candidate!!!!!!

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)

    There is no reason why Peter of Earl shouldn't be running against Smith.

    To the contrary, De Fazio and Blumenauer have given reasons why they are not running against Smith, but there is no reason why we should continue wasting time over why they and others are not running. Steve Novick has superlative qualities and a top-notch biography and he is running, so let's forget the others who are not running and do what we can to support a candidate who is running and has the potential to win.

  • county (unverified)

    Novik needs to see this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyUX6wV1lBQ

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    On a different note, I am not quite as encouraged as everyone else with these poll numbers. I see a 19% replacement rate which screams that people are not actually dying for change. Seems like Smith needs to only "buy" 20% and he'll coast to victory. So I'm not too psyched.

    Fair enough, but there are three substantive indications of Smith's vulnerability, based on the history of electoral politics and polling:

    *The incumbent is at 50% in initial head to heads against a relatively unknown opponent(s). That is the fault line under which re-election campaigns become less successful overall. And the earlier in the cycle they hit 50%,the worse news it is. (However, given the attention so early in this cycle, I might wonder if people are simply more tuned in).

    *The incumbent's "definite re-elect" is in the low 30s. That is honestly a pretty bad number. Incumbents are comfortable in the mid 40s or so; pushing 30 is definite danger territory. It measures his base, and while it's certainly true that some of that 'not sure' pool are people who've voted for him before, he is almost guaranteed to make his run in a depressed turnout environment for Republicans, particularly at the top of the ticket. Saying "he just needs to make up X" is true as far as it goes, but he's starting with a lot less of the pie than he'd like.

    *The Smith job approval rating of 37% (from the DSCC poll) is off 10 points from February, as is the similar pair of surveys from SUSA on Smith. Under 40% is bad enough; to be under 40 and moving DOWN is another red flag.

    *Both polls done were done by reputable outfits (Grove and Lake, definitely Democrat-serving but professionally solid), and yielded nearly identical results. I like it when I can consider the reliability of the numbers to be strong.

  • (Show?)

    3 and a half, I guess...

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    Quote: Novick also has slightly better name identification than several other potential Democratic candidates. While 46 percent of voters know who he is, 43 percent have heard of both radio talk show host Jeff Golden and businesswoman Eileen Brady. State House Speaker Jeff Merkley, who has recently drawn the interest of the party, has a name ID of 39 percent.

    This simply cannot be accurate. Jeff Golden AND Eileen Brady have 43% name ID? No way.

    All these numbers are way, way high. Who the heck did they survey? BlueOregon readers? Even among likely Democrat voters, there is simply no way that Golden and Brady have that level of name ID.

    That calls into question this whole poll, for me. And I happen to think that Merkely has a very good chance against Smith.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    <big>"I can beat Gordon Smith!"</big>

    Just getting back from the WashCo Dems meeting where Novick spoke after a lustige introduction by KPOJ's Carl Wolfson. This was the first time i heard Novick speak in person, and he didn't disappoint. He scored easy supermajority applause breaks for his support of ending the Iraq occupation and impeaching Bush, Cheney, Gonzo & Co. The room was full, some 120 or so with a few standing for the duration of the 2 hour meeting. With so much gray hair seated in the chairs, it was a good thing Novick could speak to the Eisenhower generation, in a way that makes that liberal Republican sexy even to Clinton era kids.

    I was originally attracted by Novick's bio. I knew already of his victories in the Love Canal case, but learned just tonight of his successes as a watchdog over Bill Sizemore (hereafter referred to as "BS"). Imagine the advertisement value! The way he pushed through lottery reform for the benefit of Oregon schools (seemingly over the opposition of then Lottery Commission Chairman Kerry Tymchuk - currently Gordon Smith's State Director?)... You know he's fought the good fight, and won time and time again.

    There's a David and Goliath thing here. You're drawn in to root for the little guy. (Novick's sense of humor is genuine and disarming. He plays openly with the clichés of being the best candidate to fight for the little guy. A fighter with a hard left hook, as in votehook.com.) My comments here aren't meant as a love letter to Steve. I welcome Merkley's presumed bid and look forward to a race that (between these two Oregon public servants at least) promises to rally the State against Smith even as it organizes Oregonians for a cohesive, progressive sea change.

    What i got tonight for the first time was Steve Novick on the stump. "I can beat Gordon Smith!" In the end, you have a notion that he just might be right. Deep, deep down you really, really want him to be right.

    P.S. Lee, did i see you there seated (aptly) to my right?

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    I forgot to mention, for you early risers, Steve Novick will be on the radio with Carl Wolfson, Thursday at 7:00am on 620 AM KPOJ.

  • Sarah Carlin Ames (unverified)

    Rob Kremer is absolutely right. 43 percent name ID for Eileen Brady? Is this only D's who never ever miss an election? Even so, that seems high.

  • (Show?)

    i can't speak to the veracity of the poll, or its methods, since i wasn't involved in doing it (obviously), but i did take a look at the firm's website and they seem reputable.

    from their clients page:

    We are proud to do work for a number of outstanding clients, including: the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Governor’s Association, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, Emily’s List and the Kaiser Foundation.

    take it as you like, but the poll seems believable to me.

  • (Show?)

    Beyond that, the numbers closely track with the Grove poll DSCC commissioned--so I'd believe the reliability of the Novick poll, as far as it goes. Celinda Lake is a good pollster.

  • Susan (unverified)

    All the more reason why Merkley should finish what he started in Salem (where he did a great job) and let SN have a clean shot at Gordon. It will take an unconventional candidate such as Steve to win this race - not just another politician. Novick is a much stronger candidate!

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    Steve spoke to a Novick - Merkley race at the WashCo Dems meeting. He cited recent examples of clean races and gave every hope that the eventual nominee would be the strong for it. This was my first time seeing him (other than that on YouTube) and i have to say, he was a class act.

  • pennoyer (unverified)

    Sorry but Rob Kremer is right. Ask people on the street if they know who Eileen Brady is. If the Novick poll is right, 4 of the first 10 will know.

    I don't think 4 of the first 100 will know. This poll is suspect.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    I doubt that name recognition is an issue at this point for serious candidates.

  • Joel (unverified)

    Thom is right. What we need is a competitive primary, which will hone a strong Democratic candidate. Where / when can I see this wunderkind?

  • (Show?)

    East Bank Thom:

    Whether or not name recognition is "an issue at this point" misses the point entirely.

    Publishing a poll that so dramatically overstates something as central to any campaign as name ID calls into question the credibility of both the poll and the campaign issuing it.

    There may indeed be some reason why the result was as it was - such as the people polled had been screened by some criteria. But nothing to that effect was indicated, as far as I know. And to get that kind of result, the screening criteria would have to be very narrow indeed.

    So Novick's polls suggests that two unknowns have higher name ID than Merkeley, who has been a state rep for years and just finished his term as speaker? Hmmm.

    That is simply nonsensical. If a campaign releases nonsense, it ought to be pointed out. Can't just write it off saying the topic of that nonsense isn't germane.

    I would be willing to bet that right now, if you polled Democrat likely voters, Merkeley's name ID would be around 30% and Golden and Brady would get the 9-12% that unknowns always get by virtue of respondees who don't want to appear ignorant to pollsters.

    But for Novick to release that these two unknowns are in the mid 40's, and above Merkeley ... that simply is not credible.

    The one thing that Novick cannot afford is for his own campaign to hurt his credibility, as credibility as a candidate for US Senate is one of his major problems to begin with.

    I think this was a pretty big misstep on the part of the Novick campaign.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    Mr. Kremer, so sorry. I'm missing your point entirely. All i did was report on what was (for me) a very favorable encounter with Steve Novick and then venture an opinion on how important these opinion polls were regarding name recognition. My conclusion... About as import as, well, your rant taking me to the woodshed... not very. It's beautiful here. Clicky, clicky my URL and don't be a buzz kill.

  • Bill Sizemore (unverified)

    If in an honest poll you asked 100 registered Oregon voters to name the speaker of the Oregon House, I doubt that five of them could name him. And even a guy like me who reads political news every day had never heard of Golden or Brady, except briefly the last couple of weeks.

    I doubt that Novick's name ID is out of the teens and doubt if Merkley, Golden or Brady have double digit name ID. None of them have name ID in the forties, as the poll claims. Being a state rep in one-sixtieth of the state does not statewide name ID build. Being speaker only helps a little.

    Rob Kremer is right on this one. You would have to be downright naive to believe this poll.

    Right now, all of these Democrat challengers are starting almost from scratch. Almost no one has heard of any of them. However, merely by virtue of being a Democrat in Oregon, any of them would start with a sizeable base coming out of the primary. But any consultant worth his or her salt would tell you that it's those last 10 pecentage points that are expensive and difficult to come by. That's where Smith's millions will be difficult to overcome.

    In my opinion, Gordon Smith really and truly is a moderate. I wish it were not so. But that label is well-earned and will make him hard to beat. A good challenger might make a race of it, but the odds are very much In Smith's favor.

    Blumenauer and Defazio and all the other high roller Democrat challengers know this is a long shot for any challenger and that is exactly why they made their excuses and chose to stay where they are.

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    Bill Sizemore (aka. "BS") wrote:

    I doubt that Novick's name ID is out of the teens

    Well, at least we can count Bill Sizemore among those who already recognizes Steve Novick's name. Evidently, Novick has spent recent years sparing Oregon from the scourge of Sizemore!

  • Scott McLean (unverified)


    I don't think this race would be a longshot at all for Defazio. Obviously it's difficult to raise the kind of money Smith will be able to spend; however, a Congressman like DeFazio could definitely raise the big money needed to win. Still, a even a narrow defeat would knock any U.S. Representative out of office. Certainly it's going to make them think twice about running against Smith.

    The first group of names you mentioned aren't going to get too many voters excited right now. The race is wide open, anyone can win and there could be more Democratic candidates before all is said and done. I think that's wonderful for democracy to have a competitive primary rather than being told who the two candidates are going to be.

    <h2>Right now the only one that has anything to lose is Smith. I have confidence Democrats will choose a candidate who is really a moderate and can beat Smith.</h2>
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