Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hibbitts poll

Tim Hibbitts released a poll today showing Kulongoski with a 5 point lead, 43% to 38%.

I have a ton of respect for Hibbitts work and so I have no doubts about the accuracy of what his polls shows. I know Tim a little bit, and I can say without any reservation that his polling data is of the highest standard.

A five point Kulongoski lead at this point in the campaign is both good and bad news for both Kulongoski and Saxton - which means there is something there for both candidates to both spin and dread.

Five weeks out and Kulongoski is far away from a majority. That is not good news for him. There are 12% undecided - which normally breaks disproportionately to the challenger.

On the other hand, Saxton has had the airwaves to himself for three or four weeks, and he is still 5% behind. Kulongoski's ads have just started, and it won't be long until his negative ads start to run, which will drive down Saxton's support. You can make the argument that Saxton would have needed to be in the lead after having the TV airwaves to himself if he were going to pull it out.

Bottom line, this race is very competitive. Tim Hibbitts says he thinks Kulongoski is still the favorite, and I have a hard time disagreeing. But favorites get beat all the time.

Don't fall into the trap of presuming that Tim Hibbitts' poll is inaccurate or ideologically biased. It isn't. He is a consummate professional. And he is also one of the most astute anylists of the Oregon political scene. You can trust that his data is an accurate reflection of current reality, period.

If you would have told Ron Saxton three months ago that Ben Westlend was going to withdraw from the race and Mary Starrett was going to jump in the race, but he was still going to be only down by 5 points at this point, I'll bet he'd be thrilled.

So it is a very competitive race. Fasten your seat belts.

Update: 6:30 am Sept. 28

The minor party candidates have gathered about 9% of the vote between them. Mary Starrett is at 4%. I never thought her candidacy would be anything but a fringe vanity candidacy, and it looks like it's not. It's hard to make an argument that she'll climb from here. She had her moment in the spotlight when the media tried to trump her up as a spoiler, but in the end she'll get just a tad more than the Green Party and Libertarian candidates.

Her candidacy does give us a good idea of how many hard core single issue abortion voters there are in Oregon, and I am glad to see there aren't that many. Not because I disdain the pro-life part of the Republican party - I don't. I'm one of them.

Starrett's candidacy, despite her protestations to the contrary, was always about the abortion issue and the abortion issue alone. She tried to catch on with voters by making the absurd-on-its-face argument that there isn't any difference between Ron Saxton and Ted Kulongoski, so she was the only true conservative in the race.

While I realize she made this claim to try and shed her single issue reputation, the problem is that nobody bought it. Ron Saxton has done a very good job of defining the substantial differences between himself and the Governor. To claim there's not a dime's worth of difference between them does nothing but marginalize the person making the claim.

Which is where Mary Starrett seems to be ending up - a marginal candidate who attracts the single issue abortion voters. It doesn't really affect the race because Saxton wasn't going to get these voters anyway.

1 comment:

Dare!PDX said...

A poll within the statistical margin for error. Thats close and good for both - there is no real lead given the numbers you just gave me.

Kulongoski better hope for some out of left field opportunity to distinguish himself in the next four weeks.