PORTLAND, OR - A new survey of likely General Election voters statewide in Oregon shows the race for governor is currently in a statistical dead heat, with Republican challenger Knute Buehler holding a slight edge of incumbent Democrat Gov. Kate Brown. The poll shows Buehler with 43% support, compared to 42% support for Brown, with 15% yet undecided on the question.
The survey shows Brown is having trouble locking up her political base, as one quarter of Democratic Party voters said they were either supporting Buehler or were undecided on the race. While she wins support of 74% of Democrats, Buehler appears to have done a good job so far in grabbing support among Republicans, as 91% of them said they were backing him in the race for governor.
The race diverges among independent voters, as Buehler wins 48% support among that group, compared to just 34% who said they support Brown. A key for Buehler: he wins support in the race from nearly one in five liberals. Meanwhile, Brown wins only 3% support among those Oregon voters who self-identify as conservatives.
Buehler is favored by six points over Brown among men, while Brown leads Buehler by four points among women, indicating that the race is unlikely to turn on gender.
Buehler’s status in the race, holding his own in a state known as a Democrat stronghold, may well stem from the fact that Oregonians do not particularly like the way things are going in the state right now. While 40% said they feel the state is headed in the right direction, 49% said they think Oregon is off on the wrong track.
Buehler enjoys a solid edge among Oregon households with an active duty military member or a veteran, while Brown holds a small lead among non-military households.
Geographically, Buehler holds a lead in four of the five congressional districts in Oregon. He leads Brown by 7% in Oregon CD1; by 33% in Oregon CD2; by 8% in Oregon CD4; and by 7% in Oregon CD5. Brown, however, enjoys a massive 48% edge in Oregon CD3, which includes Portland and most of Multnomah County.
The survey also tested support for a ballot measure that would repeal Oregon’s status as a “sanctuary state,” and found that 45% of Oregon voters oppose such a repeal, while 33% support it. The balance of voters were unsure on the question.
But, when asked whether they would vote for Kate Brown or Knute Buehler for governor based on their respective and opposing positions on the sanctuary state status, 32% of voters said they would for Brown because of her support of Oregon remaining a sanctuary state. Another 40% said they would vote for Buehler because he opposes Oregon’s sanctuary state status and wants it repealed.
As with the straight ballot test question, Brown struggles to win a significant majority of support among Democrats, as just 55% of Dems said they would support her based on this factor, compared to 86% of Republicans who said they would support Buehler for governor because of his stance on this issue. This finding may well indicate that this is an issue that is much more likely to energize Republican voters than Democrats. Nearly one-third of Democrats – 31% – said the candidate stances on this issue make no difference to their vote for governor.
Among independents, Buehler wins 39% support for governor based on his support to repeal the sanctuary state status, while Brown wins 28% support for her support of continuing the status.