PORTLAND, OREGON – SEPTEMBER 25, 2018 – The Clout Research telephone survey shows the race for governor of Oregon is a statistical dead heat, with Democratic incumbent Kate Brown leading Republican challenger Knute Buehler by a 42% to 41% margin, with minor party candidates garnering support only in the low single digits. Slightly more than 10% of respondents said they were undecided on the race.
Both Brown and Buehler win the support of about 4 of every five voters in their respective parties, but independent and non-aligned voters tilt heavily toward Buehler. He wins 48% support among independents, compared to just 23% of indies who support Brown – a remarkable show of strength for the challenger that mitigates the voter registration advantage that Democrats enjoy in Oregon.
Brown’s favorability numbers among Democrats is exactly the same as her support in the ballot test – 80% of Dems give her favorable marks. But among independent voters, just 32% give her positive marks, and 60% say they hold an unfavorable opinion of her – including 46% of independents who said they hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the governor.
Buehler is seen favorably by 41% of Oregon’s likely voters, compared to 39% who said they hold an unfavorable opinion of him. Like Brown, his favorability rating among his own fellow Republicans – 77% – is close to the level of support he wins from them in the ballot test, while just 11% of GOPers have a negative opinion of their gubernatorial nominee.
Among independent voters, Buehler wins a favorability rating of 47%, while 28% of indies hold an unfavorable opinion of the Republican.
There is a substantial gender gap in this race, as Brown leads Buehler by a 49% to 36% margin among Oregon’s female voters, which make up a slight majority of the state’s electorate. Among men, Buehler leads Brown, 46% to 34%.
Oregon households that include a member of a labor union mostly lean toward favoring Brown over Buehler, but that is barely the case among households with public sector union members. In those households, Brown clings to a scant and statistically insignificant three-point edge over Buehler, leading 43% to Buehler’s 40%. In non-union households, that situation is reversed, as Buehler leads Brown, 43% to 40%.
In terms of geography, Brown leads Buehler in three of Oregon’s five congressional districts – including the 1st, the 3rd, and the 5th. Buehler leads by 27 points in the conservative 2nd Congressional District and by 10 points in the downstate 4th Congressional District.
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