Polling News

July 27, 2016

OR Governor Race in Dead Heat; Measure 97 Losing Ground

PORTLAND, Oregon –  The new survey of likely General Election voters statewide in Oregon shows that Democrat Kate Brown and Republican Bud Pierce are locked in a statistical dead heat, with Brown holding an insignificant 43.4% to 42.0% over Pierce.

Another 7% were undecided in the race. Independent Cliff Thomason wins 5% support in the poll, while Libertarian James Foster was supported by 2%.

*** SEE LINK TO THE SURVEY TOPLINE REPORT BELOW ***

As Oregon moves from a Democratic stronghold to a toss-up state in terms of the race for President, this survey finding shows the same dynamic is at play in the race for governor, as voters appear unconvinced that establishment pols are best for the state and that outsider candidates deserve strong consideration.

Some supporting evidence of this dynamic stems from how the candidates for governor perform among Oregon’s independent voters. Among independents, Republican Pierce holds a substantial advantage, winning 41% support, compared to 29% of independents who support Democrat Brown. Indy candidate Thomason wins 16% of the independent vote, while Libertarian Foster wins 4% among indies.

Meanwhile, Pierce and Brown both struggle to win sufficient support from their own party members, as Pierce wins just 74% of the Republican vote, and Brown wins the same percentage from Democrats. The problem for both candidates is the same – they both bleed about 17% of their partisan support to the other candidate.

Both Pierce and Brown have nearly identical gender gaps – as Pierce enjoys an 16% lead among men and Brown holds a 17% advantage among women.

The survey takes into consideration the strong turnout among women voters and weights the sample to reflect a gender turnout that includes 53% women and 47% men.

In terms of gender turnout, while Oregon men have lagged badly behind women in terms of turnout in the last few election cycles, one might surmise that this is partly because the last two Republicans to run with the GOP nomination have been less than a “man’s man”. This is something you cannot say about Donald Trump, so, if there is anything positive that can be said about the prospect of Trump at the top of the ticket, it could be his ability to motivate non-traditional male voters to come out and pull the lever for him – and for other Republicans down-ticket. If that happens, Pierce stands to gain a great deal.

Regionally, while Brown leads in the reliably Democratic 1st and 3rd congressional districts and Pierce leads by a wide margin in the 2nd District, the race is a statistical dead heat in the 4th and 5th districts.

The race for President in Oregon remains a dead heat, as it has been over the course of several months of Clout Research polling, with Clinton winning 43% support and Trump winning 40% support. Libertarian Gary Johnson wins 6% and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein wins 3%, and 8% are yet undecided.

Republican Dennis Richardson leads Democrat Brad Avakian by 9 points in the race for Oregon Secretary of State, 43% to 34%. Another 10% support other candidates and 12% are yet undecided in that race.

M 97 Slightly Favored but Losing Ground

An Oregon state ballot measure that would increase the corporate minimum tax by $5 billion dollars is slightly favored at this point, with 39% saying they are in favor of the measure and 34% saying they oppose it.  Another 27% said they were unsure on the measure, which has stirred controversy over who would actually end up paying the taxes. Supporters of the ballot measure say corporations will have to pay the tab, while opponents say the corporations will simply pass on the tax to consumers – establishing a back-door sales tax in Oregon.

Oregon is one of only two states in the nation without a sales tax. Voters have rejected such taxes at every opportunity going back decades.

Support for M 97 is on the decline. A Clout Research survey on the ballot measure in early May showed the measure holding 44% support, compared to 32% who opposed it then.

M 97 is supported by 57% of Democrats, but only 22% of Republicans and 35% of independents would vote for it, the survey shows. The initiative fails to win 50% in any region of the state, as large percentages of the Oregon electorate are yet unsure on this measure.

At the time of fieldwork on this survey, the ballot measure had not yet received its official ballot title of Measure 97, so respondents were asked about the measure by its previous label, Initiative Petition 28.

 ###

Clout Research is a leading opinion research company established in 2005 and working nationwide with clients in politics, business, media, government, and the non-profit sector.  It conducted a survey of 701 likely general election voters across the State of Oregon from July 9-13, 2016. The survey was conducted by telephone with 551 respondents by landline telephone and 150 respondents by mobile phone. The survey carries a confidence interval of 95% and has a margin of error of 3.71%.

OREGON Poll Ballot Test Topline Report 7-26-2016