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Sources Say • Maybe Adams had a chance

by: Nick Fochtman,

A recent DHM Research poll about the Portland mayor's race confirms that Sam Adams would have had a hard time winning re-election. It shows that 47 percent of city voters view him negatively, compared to just 31 percent that have a positive impression.

On the other hand, the poll shows that Adams would have had a chance of surviving the May 15 primary election. When his name was placed on the mock ballot, Adams was well within the 4.9- percent margin of error of being in the top two positions and moving on to a runoff election in November.

In that case, former City Commissioner Charlie Hales received 22 percent of the vote compared to 21 percent for businesswoman Eileen Brady, 18 percent for Adams and 17 percent for state Rep. Jefferson Smith.

Most voters -- 23 percent -- were still undecided, however.

Future not looking so bright

The survey also showed a big and somewhat surprising shift in how Portlanders feel about their city. In a February poll, 58 percent of respondents said they thought Portland was moving in the "right direction." But by late April, when the new poll was taken, the percent has slipped nine points to 47 percent.

At the same time, the number of respondents who said Portland was on the "wrong track" increased nine points from 30 percent to 39 percent.

Pollster Tim Hibbitts says the survey did not ask the reason so many Portlanders changed their opinion in just two months. The question about the city's direction is included on many surveys the company takes in town, and responses jump around a lot, Hibbitts says.

"It could be the economy is not improving as much as people hope or some of the campaign issues are bothering people," he says. "I wouldn't read too much into the results unless it becomes a trend."

Will AG race turn on pot?

Will medical marijuana be the deciding issue in the race for Oregon attorney general's job? That's what legalization advocate Robert Wolfe wants you to believe.

Wolfe, founder of Citizens for Sensible Law Enforcement, sent a press release out Monday saying his organization is running TV ads opposing Dwight Holton for cracking down on medical marijuana growers and dispensaries when he was interim U.S. attorney for Oregon. Such ads could help the other candidate in the race, former state appellate court judge Ellen Rosenblum, who Wolfe has endorsed.

Except that CSLE isn't spending all that much money in the AG's race. Although the group reports raising more than $237,000 this year, most of it has gone to support the committee trying to put a marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot.

Other large amounts have been spent on management services.

By early this week, CSLE had reported spending only a little more that $8,000 on TV and radio ads attacking Holton -- a fraction of the money Holton and Rosenblum are spending on their own media buys.

A more important important factor may be the $70,000 the Roseblum campaign recently received from Drug Policy Action, a major supporter of Oregon's 1988 Medical Marijuana Law.

In a statement announcing the donation, Jill Harris, managing director of strategic initiatives for DPA, said, "We are now acting to protect the law from a candidate who poses a major threat to it."