Exclusive poll: Little change in key Oregon races, measures

Exclusive poll: Little change in key Oregon races, measures
State Rep. Dennis Richardson (left) and Gov. John Kitzhaber.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Voter sentiment in Oregon about who will be the next governor, the next junior senator to represent the state in Washington, D.C., and about whether to legalize recreational use of marijuana has largely remained unchanged over the last two months, according to a KATU News/SurveyUSA poll released Wednesday.

In June, SurveyUSA found that Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber led Republican state Rep. Dennis Richardson by 13 percentage points, 48-35. Today’s results had Kitzhaber leading by 12 points, 48-36.

Kitzhaber is running for an unprecedented fourth term as the state’s governor.

In Oregon’s U.S. Senate race, a contest that has gained national attention, Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley leads his Republican challenger, pediatric neurosurgeon Monica Wehby, by 19 points, 52-33. In June he led by 18, 50-32.

As for the marijuana issue, voter sentiment also remained virtually unchanged in support for the legalization and taxation of pot.

Two months ago and today, a slight majority - 51 percent of likely voters surveyed – supported the legalization of marijuana. In June, 41 percent opposed it and today 42 percent opposed it.

Measure 92 would require some genetically modified foods (GMOs) to be labeled as such. A slightly larger majority now supports doing so. In June, 51 percent supported the measure while 14 percent opposed it; today, 54 percent supported the measure while 16 percent opposed it.

SurveyUSA also took voters’ temperature on their feelings on how Kitzhaber handled the state’s failed health care exchange, Cover Oregon. Click here for full results, crosstabs and tracking of all the questions that were asked.

The August poll, SurveyUSA polled 564 likely voters between Aug. 1 and Aug. 5. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.