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Oregon Senate Race Tied At 47% Apiece

Incumbent Republican Gordon Smith is locked in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Jeff Merkley in the race for the U.S. Senate in Oregon.

The two men are tied at 47% each, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of voters in the state. The poll was taken Tuesday night, 24 hours after the two candidates had faced off in the final of two televised debates this month.

A month ago it was a one-point race, with Smith ahead 46% to 45%, after leading by eight in August. Merkley led by two points in July.

Smith, who is seeking a third term in the Senate, has the support of 85% of the state’s Republicans and 18% of Democrats. Merkley, the speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, is backed by 75% of Democrats and 11% of GOP voters. Unaffiliated voters give Merkley the edge by eight points. Last month he led among unaffiliateds by four.

The two candidates are virtually tied among both men and women (see full demographic crosstabs). Smith had a four-point lead among men a month ago.

Any incumbent polling under 50% is considered vulnerable, and Smith, like many of his fellow GOP incumbent senators nationwide, is clearly at risk. He is the only Republican in statewide office in Oregon, where, as in many states, Democrats have been registering a lot of new voters this year.

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The latest presidential numbers from Oregon, where Barack Obama has led John McCain all year, will be released at 5 p.m. Eastern today.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Oregon voters have a favorable opinion of Smith, up from 49% a month ago, while 43% view him unfavorably, a decrease of three. Merkley has 49% favorables, up four from September, and 48% unfavorables, an increase from 46% a month ago.

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.

Along with Smith’s, other Republican Senate seats at risk this year include ones in Alaska, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota and Virginia.

Forty percent (40%) of Oregon voters give Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski good or excellent marks for job performance, roughly the same as in September. Thirty-one percent (31%) say he’s doing a poor job, up from 26% a month ago.

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See survey questions and toplines. Crosstabs are available for Premium Members only.

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 700 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on October 14, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 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.