The governor race is down to the final fortnight, and the fur is flying. I'm of course backing Ron Saxton, and I think the signs are becoming clear that Ron is in very good position to win.
Take a look at this poll, done by Survey USA. It asked about name familiarity, favorables and unfavorables on every candidate running for Governor. It did not ask who they were voting for, but the information is interesting for what it says about how the candidates' messages are being heard and received.
The results not only bode well for Ron Saxton, but are a virtual train wreck for Ted Kulongoski. There is also some fairly bad news for both Kevin Mannix and Jason Atkinson.
Here are the key items:
- Among registered Republicans, Saxton and Mannix have almost identical favorables - 33% and 34%. Mannix, however, has significantly higher negatives - 25% vs 14%.
- Jason Atkinson's message is not getting heard, which makes sense because he has not had the money to buy the kind of media that would reach a lot of people. Even among Republicans, only 47% know who he is. Even worse for Jason is the fact that among that 47%, more people have a negative impression of him than positive. So when his message IS heard, it isn't winning people over.
- Jason continues to have a huge gender gap in his support. This was first identified in a poll that Mike Riley did a few months ago, and it was confirmed in this poll. Women are barely more than half as likely to like Jason than are men.
- Perhaps the most surprising result is that Saxton does better than either Atkinson or Mannix with Republicans who call themselves conservative. Conservatives were just as likely to dislike Jason as like him. For Mannix, conservatives were twice as likely to approve of him, and for Saxton, a little south of three times more likely.
- Kulongoski is in trouble. Among Democrats, 34% have an unfavorable impression vs. 44% favorable. Only 20% neutral. That would seem to predict he would get something less than 60% in the primary. The equivalent of blood in the water.
- Ben Westlund is still not well known, with 56% of all voters not having an opinion. Of those who know him, he's perceived as a lefty. Conservatives dislike him 2:1, and liberals like him 3:2. This lends weight to the argument that he would draw more votes from Kulongoski in the general election.
This poll didn't try to exclude registered voters who are unlikely to vote in the primary, which does give me pause. Primary voters tend to be more politically aware and more ideological than those who only vote in the general election, so there is some reason to take these numbers with a grain of salt.
I am told that a poll will be released tomorrow or Wednesday that will give a ballot test on both the Republican and Democrat governor races. It will be interesting to see if it confirms these numbers.