Listen carefully. Here are three words you have not heard in Oregon likely in your lifetime: "Republican", "governor", "easy". With less than three weeks to go until the fateful "first Tuesday after the first Monday" General Election day, Breitbart's John Nolte reports that "RealClearPolitics Projects GOP Wins in MI, WI, OR, NV Governor Races". And of the four, Oregon is the easiest call. As in, "It's so obvious, even a blind man could see it."
Back in August I wrote about an ORP fundraising letter highlighting the national elections-tracking outfit Elections Daily as they became the first to rate Oregon's governor contest a "Toss Up". Sticking with that rating, they rank Oregon's contest as the 6th-most likely in their top-10 list of statehouses likely to flip.
For the other three races, Nolte says, "In part, RealClear is basing its projections with an eye on how poorly most pollsters underestimated GOP turnout in the last few election cycles." For example, in the Wisconsin governor contest, the RCP average shows a tie between the Democrat incumbent Evers and Republican Tim Michaels. But because polling in the state has underestimated GOP turnout by as much as 5.2%, RCP is projecting that Michaels will win by that amount. On the other hand, polling in Nevada, where Republican Joe Lombardo leads Democrat Steve Sisolak by roughly 2%, RCP simply sticks with that.
In Oregon's case, however, calling the race for Christine Drazan does not have to take into account polling bias. "Oregon is an easy projection," Nolte writes. "Republican Christine Drazen has led in every poll against Democrat Tina Kotek and independent Betsy Johnson. Currently, the RCP poll of polls has Drazen up 2.8 points." The actual numbers are: Christine Drazan — 38.4%; Tina Kotek — 36%; Betsy Johnson — 15.4%.
The RCP average is derived from six different polls conducted by five different firms between 22 September and 18 October. Also shown in the RCP data set, but apparently not taken into account, is a poll by Clout Research conducted in August. Clout is contracted with Republican interests and, not surprisingly, provides the results that drive the average up.
In its three polls included in the data set, Clout shows a trend that could otherwise be missed if focusing on just the spread. The poll conducted in August (10-14), Drazan was up one point (Margin of error 4.9). A month later (9/23-26), over the same period as the DHM poll conducted for The Oregonian, Clout had her up four points (Margin of error 4.8). The firm's most recent poll, taken 8-9 October, reported the largest gap between the candidates at six points. With the margin of error of only 3.8, this is the only poll that produced a solid lead. Not to be missed, though, is the upward trend line.
As Nolte points out, "Momentum matters most when we are less than three weeks from Election Day." Eric Cunningham at Election Daily supplements that assessment, saying, "We also expect Johnson's support to decrease as Election Day approaches, but it's unclear which candidate will benefit." With Democrats unable to point to any circumstance where Drazan's opposition to the Democrat policy ended up hurting Oregonians, expect the trend to continue up.