KATU poll: Brown leads Buehler; undecided rules labor commissioner race

KATU poll: Brown leads Buehler; undecided rules labor commissioner race
Republican Knute Buehler, left, is challenging Democrat Kate Brown this year for the position of Oregon secretary of state. Both appeared on "Your Voice, Your Vote" Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 in separate interviews.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Secretary of State Democrat Kate Brown leads her Republican challenger, Knute Buehler, by eight points, according to a KATU News/SurveyUSA poll released Thursday.

Brown received 48 percent of the vote while Buehler garnered 40 percent.

In contrast to a poll commissioned for The Oregonian and released earlier in the week, the number of voters who are still undecided in the race in KATU's poll is significantly smaller.

Elway Research of Seattle polled likely voters Oct. 25-28 and found that 36 percent were undecided, but in SurveyUSA’s poll only 7 percent said they were undecided.

Additionally, The Oregonian poll found that Brown led Buehler by 15 points. With fewer people undecided, KATU's poll shows a narrower race.

Not surprisingly, the candidates lead among their respective party members. But Brown does well among women, leading Buehler by 19 points. Buehler, by contrast, only leads men by 5 points.

In the state labor commissioner race, which has been low on the radar for many voters, 40 percent of those surveyed said they hadn't made up their minds.

Twenty-nine percent of poll respondents threw their support behind incumbent Brad Avakian, while 31 percent said they supported his challenger Bruce Starr. But the results were well within the poll's margin of error of 4.3 percentage points, so the candidates are essentially even and the race is too close to call.

Voters who need help deciding between the two men can read transcribed interviews KATU.com conducted last week with the candidates. Links to each candidates’ websites are also provided.

As in previous SurveyUSA polls conducted for KATU, pollsters also asked about Measure 80, which would legalize marijuana, and measures 82 and 83, which deal with establishing privately owned casinos in the state and in Wood Village.

Voter sentiment on the marijuana issue was unchanged from two weeks ago. Those who oppose allowing adults to grow and possess marijuana and allowing state-licensed stores to grow it still led by 7 points.

As in previous polls, voters showed little support for the two casino measures in Thursday's poll. Only 31 percent of respondents supported Measure 82, which would allow privately owned casinos, and the same percentage of respondents supported Measure 83, which would allow a privately owned casino in Wood Village.

Finally, Measure 85, which will allow the corporate "kicker" to be used to help fund K-12 schools, will pass, according to the poll. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed supported the measure, 32 percent opposed it and 18 percent were undecided.

The SurveyUSA poll is significant because in addition to surveying likely voters, it also surveyed those who have already voted.

Ballots in Oregon are due by 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6 at an official drop-off site.