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Poll: Realtors' campaign for Measure 79 stumbles

An expensive initiative campaign by Realtors to forestall any future taxes on the sale of Oregon real estate is fizzling, according to Our Oregon.

The progressive labor-led coalition commissioned a poll on Ballot Measure 79 and found that it’s supported by only 31 percent of likely voters, and opposed by 54 percent, a daunting 23-point margin.

The poll was conducted by GBA Strategies of Washington, D.C., said Scott Moore, Our Oregon spokesman. The pollster interviewed 600 likely voters on Oct. 22, but read the full wording of what will appear on the ballot, known as the ballot title, to only 300 of them, and read a summary to the other 300, to test the differences.

The poll results are based on those who heard the entire ballot title, which is considered the most reliable way to poll.

The poll had a margin of error of 5.7 percent, meaning results could be off that much in either direction.

Moore predicts the Realtors could boost their support between now and election day, via heavy campaign advertising.

However, Our Oregon noted that the campaign, funded mostly by the Oregon Association of Realtors and National Association of Realtors, spent $3.8 million between mid-August and Oct. 22.

Critics, including several newspaper editorial boards, have pointed out that Oregon law already bars new transfer taxes on real estate. Measure 79, if approved, would enshrine that ban in the Oregon Constitution.