Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Governor's race poll

Less than two weeks from election day, KATU has just released a poll (PDF in link) that shows Ron Saxton holding a 3 point lead over Kevin Mannix in the Republican gubernatorial primary, with Jason Atkinson 11 points behind the front-runner.

The poll, done by respected Portland firm Davis Hibbits & Midghall, Inc., shows Saxton at 26 percent, Mannix at 23 percent and Jason Atkinson at 15 percent. It still shows 35 percent of likely Republican voters are undecided, with 4 percent leaning toward Saxton, 3 percent toward Atkinson and 1 percent toward Mannix.

Tim Hibbits of the polling firm told KATU:
Jason Atkinson is on the verge of making this a three-way race. . . . he has been moving up in the polls, so you cannot dismiss him as a possible upset winner. Again, I want to emphasize it's a longshot, but . . . any of those three gentlemen can still win.
When pollsters asked for an overall impression of the candidates, 44 percent had a "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable" impression of Saxton, compared to 47 percent for Mannix and 22 percent for Atkinson. However, almost one out of every four voters had a "somewhat unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" impression of Mannix, compared to 13 percent for Saxton and 4 percent for Atkinson.

One in four listed Saxton as "neutral," while Mannix and Atkinson each had 18 percent in that category.

The biggest challenge for Atkinson right now is his lack of name familiarity. Fifty-five percent of those polled were not familiar with Atkinson, which mirrors a SurveyUSA poll that showed 57 percent name unfamiliarity for Atkinson. (Note, however, that SurveyUSA also showed 10 percent favorable and 15 percent unfavorable for Atkinson, much different than the Hibbits numbers.)

One interesting thing about this poll is how the Oregonian (a partner with KATU in commissioning the poll) listed the results. It said the race is "way too close to call," but went on:
The poll shows Saxton at 31 percent in favor or leaning towards him, 2002 primary winner Kevin Mannix at 24 percent in favor or leaning, and Sen. Jason Atkinson at 18 percent in favor or leaning.
So in order to create the appearance of a bigger lead for Saxton (7 percent over Mannix vs. just 3 percent), the Oregonian combines the numbers for those in favor and those leaning toward each candidate. This seems a bit of a stretch to me.

Also interesting is how Davis Hibbits did in the 2002 primary. The final poll showed
  • Mannix: 32 percent
  • Saxton: 29 percent
  • Jack Roberts: 19 percent
  • Undecided/other: 20 percent.
The final vote was:
  • Mannix: 36 percent
  • Roberts: 29 percent
  • Saxton: 28 percent
  • Other: 7 percent
What do we learn from this? Voters had made up their minds about Saxton, but Mannix picked up another 4 percent, and Roberts surged into second with an extra 10 points. The KATU reporter, Melica Johnson, quoted Hibbits as saying Saxton and Mannix need to be wary of Atkinson:
Hibbits says negative ads by outside parties bashing Saxton and Mannix could lead undecided Republicans to that third choice.
With his limited funds, it will be difficult for Atkinson, but if those undecideds go to Atkinson as an alternative to the negativity between the front-runners, if Atkinson pulls a Roberts and picks up significant ground in the last two weeks (keep in mind that the undecided numbers are much higher this time, so there are more voters to pull from), it will be an interesting election night.


  • At 5/04/2006 7:37 PM, Blogger Dylan said…

    Hey Ken,

    Great job reporting these numbers. Just wanted to offer up a quick correction. I think your negatives are incorrect. It looks like you added in Neutral to your totals. It should be ...
    Atkinson at 4% negatives. Compared to 13 for Saxton and 23 for Mannix.

  • At 5/04/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger Ken said…


    Thanks for checking my work. Sorry, I'm being dense, but I can't find an error -- my numbers appear to be the same as yours. Could you let me know where it says that?


  • At 5/04/2006 8:32 PM, Blogger Dylan said…

    I am an idiot ... sorry. I thought I read numbers in the 40s the first time I read this post. Hense me being shocked and doing the numbers myseld. Stupid .. Stupid .. Stupid. That is me. :)

  • At 5/04/2006 10:01 PM, Blogger I am Coyote said…

    That SurveyUSA is not a legitimate poll so should be discounted altogether.

    However you hit the nail on the head about the voters going to Atkinson if those two really get bloody. Unfortunately for them they MUST get bloody with each other.

    Jason will likely get more money now and look for an uptick in the broadcast media.

    yip yip

  • At 5/05/2006 8:04 AM, Anonymous db Lulu said…

    when analyzing/reporting polling numbers the leaning numbers are almost always used because leaners usually end up voting the way they are leaning. This isn't part of the O's obvious support for Saxton, just normal reporting. What IS interesting about the numbers is that Saxton and Atkinson have the momentum among undecideds. The numbers are small, but I find this very encouraging. This race is about to get VERY interesting.

  • At 5/05/2006 12:38 PM, Blogger Tony said…

    If anyone actually believes these numbers they must be smoking crack.

    Remember why I renamed KATU the Saxton News Network and pointed out they and the Oregonian have been trembling from "Rongasms"? It's because they have proven that they will do ANYTHING to help Ron Saxton. Anything.

    I don't believe this poll for a second. Do I believe the race tightened a bit? Yes. Do I beleive Saxton is winning? Only in Portland. Do I believe Jason's numbers are pretty accurate? Yes.

    Do I believe this says a vote for Jason is a vote for Saxton? Yes.

    But I do not believe for a second that Ron Saxton got a 15 point bump by running campaign ads.

  • At 5/05/2006 1:54 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Tony, you crack me up. They're lying about Saxton, telling the truth about Atkinson, and don't vote for Atkinson because that'll hurt Mannix. You don't say if Hibbits is lying about Mannix's numbers, but by inference I'm assuming you think that some of Saxton's numbers rightfully belong to Mannix. Way to spin the numbers in the only possible way to help your candidate.

    Conversely, we could interpret the numbers this way: Mannix has bigger negatives and has been sliding over the past several months. He's a known quantity and won't pick up much momentum in the final 10 days. Therefore, a vote for Mannix, who can't win, is a vote for Saxton. Mannix voters should switch to Atkinson because, like Jack Roberts in '02, he's running the most positive campaign and will benefit from the mud flying from Mannix to Saxton and back.

    Is it a stretch? Maybe. But no more so than you suggesting that Hibbits is lying about Saxton's lead.


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