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Sources Say: Voters rank Kitzhaber above unions, Congress

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber continues to be popular, according to a post-election poll for Fox News 12 and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

When voters were asked to rate their level of confidence that a politician and an institution will try to do what’s right for the state and nation on a scale of one to 10, Kitzhaber came in highest with a mean score of 5.7, ahead of the Legislature at 5.3 and even President Obama at 5.2.

The Oregon business community also scored high on the same question at 5.5. Trailing the pack were Oregon’s labor unions, hitting 4.7 on the confidence scale, and Congress, at 4.2.

The poll of 500 registered Oregon voters was conducted between Nov. 9 and 12 by Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall Inc.

Liberal? Not as much as you’d think

With its consistent support for national and statewide Democratic candidates, Oregon has a reputation as one of the most liberal states on the Left Coast. Most Oregon voters do not look at themselves that way, however, according to the post-election poll.

The poll found that the largest block of voters — 35 percent — describe themselves as conservative. Only 31 percent described themselves as liberal, just slightly more than the 29 percent who described themselves as middle-of-the-road moderate.

Four percent refused to answer.

But when it came to party registration, the largest block — 39 percent — said they were Democrats compared to 31 percent who were Republicans and 29 percent who were Independent or unaffiliated. And 45 percent said they voted for President Obama compared to 39 percent for Mitt Romney, 4 percent for someone else.

Smith’s true believers hang on to the end

In the closing week of November’s general election, when many knew state Rep. Jefferson Smith was going to lose the mayor’s race, he still managed to bring in about $2,500 in contributions. Of that amount, $900 came from out-of-state contributors who might not have heard Charlie Hales was going to win.

But here in town, Smith still had a few die-hard supporters.

One was Matthew French, managing director of Zidell-ZRZ Realty, who kicked in $500 on Oct. 31. Another was Mark Bunster, a statistician with the city of Portland, who might have known what was coming but contributed $40 anyway on Nov. 1.

And then there were the dreamers, like Mitchell Rofsky, who donated $467 the same day. He listed his occupation as executive director of the Better World Club.

Early in the race, Rofsky had tried to persuade Smith and Hales to adopt campaign contribution and spending limits. Ironically, he ended up giving a total of $717 to Smith — $117 more than the campaign’s voluntary $600 contribution limit.