OR-Sen: Democrats Rising Against Smith
by Todd Beeton, Sat May 10, 2008 at 03:43:44 PM EDT
There is a fierce primary battle being waged in Oregon for the Democratic nomination to take on Senator Gordon Smith in November between OR House speaker Jeff Merkley and longtime Democratic activist/consultant Steve Novick. Smith has been truly one of the worst examples of Republicans who pretend to be moderate and independent-minded yet have voted time and time again to advance the Bush agenda. If the new Rasmussen Reports survey out of Oregon is any indication, though, voters are onto Smith and are ready to replace him with a real Democrat, not a Republican who pretends to be one every 6 years.
According to Rasmussen, both Democrats are within striking distance of Smith and rising, with the better known Merkley polling a bit better within the margin of error. Interestingly, there's also evidence that the primary itself, while bruising at times, has benefitted both Democrats and damaged Smith.
May 7 Mar. 25 Feb. 13 Smith (R): 45 47 48 Merkley(D): 42 34 30
May 7 Mar. 25 Feb. 13 Smith (R): 47 46 48 Novick(D): 41 35 35
500 OR LVs interviewed May 7, MoE +/- 4%
This is dangerous territory for Smith as an incumbent consistently polling below the magic 50%. And as for the primary, fast approaching on May 20, despite the fact that Novick has been polling slightly better than his opponent, the Rasmussen results may be a leading indicator of some momentum for Jeff Merkley as his upward trajectory against Smith is more consistent and pronounced, which appears to have Gordon Smith running scared as he's already launched an attack ad against Merkley and Merkley alone, indicating that, as Blue Oregon points out:
...Smith is trying to hand select his opponent. And he wants Novick.
While we've stayed largely out of picking sides in this race, I have to say Senate Guru, whose blog should be among your daily reads if you're interested in the senate races this cycle, makes a strong case for Jeff Merkley in his endorsement. And Novick's tendency to bash Democrats doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
Are you following the race? Do you have a preference, make the case for your candidate in the comments.