Low level of voter commitment in Oregon Governors Race

While the most recent polls for Oregon Governor don’t agree on who leads they do agree that only 82% of Oregon voters currently support either Democrat Kate Brown or Republican Knute Bueher.

RealClearPolitics.com reports that a Hoffman Research poll conducted between September 12th and 13th, claimed Brown lead Buehler 46% to 36% and a Clout Research Poll conducted September 20th to the 23rd claimed Brown lead Buehler 42% to 41%

Compare that 82% total voter commitment to the legacy party candidates to the other most contested Governor races around the Country. The most recent polls in those States showed a total voter commitment to the Republican and Democratic candidates as:

  • Ohio:  94%
  • Florida:  93%  (average of several recent polls)
  • Wisconsin:  93%
  • Arizona:  90% (average of several recent polls)
  • Georgia: 90%
  • Nevada:  88%
  • Iowa:  84%
  • Oregon 82%

All of these are close contests with a lot of spending, and the level of voted commitment in most states is 90% or higher. Why does Oregon’s voter commitment to legacy party candidates appear so low as compared to other like kind states?  It’s not lack of familiarity with the candidates given all the spending on television and social media, particularly with Kate Brown who has been a high profile elected official for decades. One thing doesn’t appear in most news reports about the polling. The strength of any third party candidates in these states. So I looked that up for you.

in Iowa, with just 84% of voters committed, the Governors poll included the Libertarian candidate, Jake Porter, who is polling at 7%. And in Nevada, with just 88% voter commitment to legacy party candidates, there is also a third party candidate. You may recognize his name- Ryan Bundy.

The Oregon Governor poll by Hoffman Research did include Independent Party of Oregon candidate Patrick Starnes who polled at 4%. When Hoffman Research pushed undecideds  to decide, his share went to 5%. The low level of voter commitment in Oregon for the Democratic and Republican candidates could indicate there is more support for Starnes than reflected in current polling. But even if Starnes were to earn 4% of the vote it would be the highest level of support for an independent or third party candidate for Governor in many years and twice as much support as compared to recent years. It’s not impossible to believe that Starnes vote total could exceed the margin of victory for the eventual winner.


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