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Poll: Hales, Fritz have an edge in races

Obama holds six-point lead; voters may send corporate kicker money to schools


by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT - Polling shows Charlie Hales leading Jefferson Smith in the Portland mayor race by double digits.Charlie Hales holds a substantial lead over Jefferson Smith in the race for Portland mayor, according to a new poll commissioned by FOX News 12 and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Hales is ahead of Smith by 44 percent to 25 percent, with 19 percent of voters undecided, according to the poll by Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall Inc.

“The outcome of the race is not in doubt,” says company co-founder Tim Hibbitts. “The margin might be. Smith could still pick up enough votes to get a reasonable showing, but he is not going to win.”

Hales is a former city commissioner. Smith is a Democratic state representative from East Portland.

The poll shows 39 percent view Hales favorably, 20 percent view him unfavorably, 20 percent are neutral and 27 percent don’t know.

As for Smith, the poll shows 24 percent view him favorably, 36 percent view him unfavorably, 20 percent are neutral and 20 percent don’t know.

Hibbitts believes the deciding factor in the race was the 1993 police report on Smith’s run-in with a young woman at a party in Eugene. Smith was cited for assault in the incident, which took place when he was a University of Oregon student. The case was dismissed after Smith entered a diversion program and paid the woman’s medical bills.

“The race ended when the police report was released. Up until then, all of the polls showed the race to be fairly close,” says Hibbitts.

The same poll shows Amanda Fritz well ahead of state Rep. Mary Nolan in the City Council race, but with a large block of undecided votes.

Fritz is the incumbent and Nolan is a Democrat representing Southwest Portland.

According to the poll, Fritz has 37 percent of the vote, Nolan has 29 percent of the vote, and 34 percent of the voters are undecided.

“That race is up in the air,” Hibbitts says. “Nolan has to capture a majority of the undecided votes to win it, but she has a chance of doing that. There’s too much uncertainty to declare it over at this point.”

The poll shows 37 percent view Fritz favorably, 16 percent view her unfavorably, 21 percent are neutral and 27 percent don’t know.

As for Nolan, the poll shows 25 percent view her favorably, 9 percent view her unfavorably, 22 percent are neutral and 9 percent had no opinion.

‘Undecided’ leads labor race

FOX 12 and Oregon Public Broadcasting also commissioned a DHM Research poll of several statewide races.

According to that poll, Democratic President Obama leads Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a margin of 49 percent to 42 percent, with 4 percent undecided.

The poll shows 51 percent view Obama favorably, 43 percent view him unfavorably, 5 percent are neutral and 1 percent don’t know.

As for Romney, the poll shows 41 percent view him favorably, 47 percent view him unfavorably, 8 percent are neutral and 4 percent did not express an opinion.

In the Oregon secretary of state race, Democratic incumbent Kate Brown leads Republican challenger Knute Buehler by a margin of 43 percent to 37 percent, with 15 percent undecided.

The poll shows 26 percent view Brown favorably, 14 percent view her unfavorably, 15 percent are neutral and 46 percent don’t know.

As for Buehler, 14 percent view him favorably, 11 percent view him unfavorably, 15 percent are neutral and 61 percent don’t know.

The poll also showed that 60 percent of voters are undecided in the nonpartisan race for Oregon labor commissioner. Of those voters who have picked a candidate, incumbent Brad Avakian is leading challenger Bruce Starr by a margin of 22 percent to 19 percent.

The poll did not include any state legislative races. However, it asked which party voters were leaning toward in their districts. Democrats led with 49 percent, compared to 36 percent Republican.

And the poll shows the ballot measure to direct so-called corporate kicker state tax refunds to public schools is favored by most voters. Measure 85 is ahead by a margin of 53 percent yes votes to 36 percent no votes, with 12 percent undecided.

Adams still sagging

In the Portland poll, only Romney is viewed more unfavorably than Mayor Sam Adams among seven politicians rated by city voters. Adams, who chose not to run for re-election, has a higher favorable rating than a number of them, however.

Romney was rated “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” by 69 percent of Portlanders. Adams’ unfavorable rating was 43 percent. He was followed by Jefferson Smith at 36 percent, Barrack Obama at 23 percent, Charlie Hales at 20 percent, Amanda Fritz at 16 percent and Mary Nolan 9 percent.

On the other hand, 34 percent rated Adams “somewhat favorable” or “very favorable.” That’s higher than Nolan at 25 percent, Smith at 24 percent, and Romney at 22 percent.

But Adams trails Obama at 72 percent, Hales at 39 percent and Fritz at 37 percent.

The polls of both state and local races were done by telephone from Oct. 18 to 20, with 400 people in Portland for local races and 500 people across the state. Both polls have a margin of error between 2.6 percent and 4.4 percent.