Oregon: Merkley Has Slim Lead in New Democratic Poll

Posted September 15, 2008 at 6:37pm

State Speaker Jeff Merkley (D) pulled ahead of Sen. Gordon Smith (R) by 2 points, according to a Sept. 7-9 poll conducted for the Democratic candidate’s campaign.

In the poll, Merkley topped Smith 43 percent to 41 percent, with 10 percent saying they were undecided and 6 percent opting for a third-party candidate. The survey polled 702 likely voters and had an error margin of 3.7 points.

Smith campaign spokeswoman Lindsay Gilbride declined to comment on this particular poll, other than to say she is not surprised that the race is close.

“We’ve long expected this to be a competitive race,” Gilbride said. “There will be many polls between now and Election Day. We do not comment on polls, public or otherwise — and especially not polls paid for by our opponent.”

Merkley’s poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Pete Brodnitz of the Benenson Strategy Group, also found that 32 percent of those polled gave Smith a job-approval rating of excellent or good; 61 percent rated him fair or poor.