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Survey USA: Kitzhaber, Merkley maintain leads

Little change from previous poll in June.

A new Survey USA poll finds little change in the races for Oregon governor and U.S. senator, where Democratic incumbents continue to lead Republican challengers.

The poll, which relies on automated telephone calls, was released by Portland television station KATU. It surveyed 564 “likely” voters Aug. 1-5.

The results for the two statewide races atop the Nov. 4 ballot:

Governor: John Kitzhaber, Democratic incumbent, 48 percent; Dennis Richardson, Republican state representative, 36 percent. In a similar Survey USA poll in June, Kitzhaber had 48 percent, Richardson 35 percent.

U.S. senator: Jeff Merkley, Democratic incumbent, 52 percent; Monica Wehby, Republican, 33 percent. In a similar Survey USA poll in June, Merkley had 50 percent, Wehby 32 percent.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Other polls conducted after the May 20 primary had similar results.

Other findings in the Survey USA poll may give hope to the Republican challengers.

About half the sample (47 percent) says that the national health-care overhaul, passed in 2010 as the Affordable Care Act, will be a major factor in how they vote for U.S. senator Nov. 4. Wehby, a physician from Portland making her first bid for public office, has been trying to derail Merkley’s second-term bid largely on that issue.

About 20 percent of the sample say Kitzhaber should get all the blame for the failure of the website for Cover Oregon, the state’s health insurance exchange, and another 20 percent says he should get most of the blame. But 37 percent says he should get some blame, and 17 percent no blame.

Kitzhaber is seeking a fourth nonconsecutive term as governor.

The survey also asked about two ballot measures, but there was little change from a previous poll on how voters stood.

On legalization of marijuana for recreational use, which is proposed in Measure 91, 51 percent of the sample favor it, and 42 percent oppose it. The June survey pegged it at 51-41.

On labeling of genetically engineered foods, which is proposed in Measure 92, 54 percent of the sample favor it, and 16 percent oppose it. The June survey pegged it at 51-14.


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