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Oregon Senate: Incumbent Smith Regains Lead, Still Receives Under 50% Support

Republican Senator Gordon Smith has regained the lead over challenger Jeff Merkley in Oregon’s U.S. Senate race, but still receives under 50% support from voters. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds Smith on top 47% to 39% this month.

When “leaners” are included, the incumbent leads 50% to 44%.

In July, Merkley enjoyed a statistically insignificant two-percentage point lead. In the month prior, Smith led by nine percentage points. Still, any incumbent who polls below 50% is considered vulnerable.

The incumbent, who is currently seeking his third term, is supported by 80% of Republicans while Merkley attracts 69% of Democrats and 8% of Republicans. Among unaffiliated voters, Smith leads 44% to 38%. Smith leads by eleven among men in Oregon and by five among women.

Favorability ratings for the incumbent have changed little since July. Smith is viewed favorably by 55% and unfavorably by 38%. By contrast, Merkley’s ratings have worsened over the past month. The challenger is viewed favorably by 42%, down from 51% last month, while 45% view him unfavorably, up from 34% last month.

Smith is far from the only GOP senator at risk in the upcoming election. Many Republican Senate seats are potentially in play for Democrats including seats in Alaska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Virginia. As a result, Democrats are expected to add several seats to their Senate majority this November. It is worth noting, however, that the number of Republican seats at risk has declined somewhat over the past month or so.

Rasmussen Markets data currently gives Smith a % chance of keeping his Senate seat. These figures are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants.

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) earns good or excellent ratings from 42% of voters, while 31% say he is doing a poor job.

In Oregon’s Presidential race, Barack Obama leads John McCain.

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Oregon Toss-Up

Latest RR P oll

RR Poll Avg.

RR Mkts.

In Trade

2002 Results

Smith (R)

46%

46%

56%

Merkley (D)

49%

47%

40%

This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on August 7, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.


Oregon Trends: Smith vs. Merkley

Date

Smith

Merkley

10/30/2008

46%

49%

10/14/2008

47%

47%

09/15/2008

46%

45%

08/07/2008

47%

39%

07/15/2008

41%

43%

06/11/2008

47%

38%

05/07/2008

45%

42%

03/25/2008

47%

34%

02/13/2008

48%

30%


Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Oregon

 

Smith

Merkley

Very Favorable

18%

17%

Somewhat Favorable

32%

32%

Somewhat Unfavorable

29%

20%

Very Unfavorable

20%

28%

Not Sure

1%

3%


About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.