Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oregon: Independent opportunity

New voting bloc: the frustrated Election - A poll shows sour moods among likely primary voters have helped to keep the governor's race knotted

Sunday, May 07, 2006 JEFF MAPES The Oregonian -- Oregon voters have plenty of beefs this year. Zooming gas prices. Illegal immigration. Low-wage jobs and shaky health insurance. And don't even get them started about the politicians in the state Capitol.
So it may be no surprise that none of the candidates for governor has appeared to catch fire this year, according to a new poll for The Oregonian. Instead, voters seem largely united in the belief that something is wrong -- even if there is little agreement on what exactly is the problem. .....Portland pollster Tim Hibbitts, who conducted the survey, said he's seen regular ups and downs in voter moods over his 30 years of polling. But he said he's never seen such a sour mood at a time when the economy in both Oregon and the country is moving upward.
The upshot is that incumbent Democrat Ted Kulongoski is struggling to get more than half of his primary vote while the three major Republican candidates remain embroiled in a tight race.
"This result reflects more than anything else the frustration that Oregonians across the board are feeling about the state," Hibbitts said. "There is a huge amount of cynicism out there that nobody is going to make things better."
The April 30-May 2 survey of likely Democratic and Republican primary voters found that 66 percent of GOP voters said the state was going in the wrong direction. Among Democrats, 48 percent said the state was on the wrong track, while 41 percent had a positive view.
Independent voters were not surveyed, but Hibbitts said that other recent surveys he's done led him to think that independents would more closely resemble Republicans in their negative view of how the state is doing. ....

Oregon governor facing difficult re-election bid

5/6/2006 By BRAD CAIN The Associated Press The Oregonian ...Kulongoski's real test could come in November, when he faces one of three major Republican contenders competing for their party's nomination. Another threat to Kulongoski is an independent candidate in the governor's race — state Sen. Ben Westlund, whose base of support seems to be growing.... more

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