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Posts published in “Day: August 6, 2007”

Next R out: Butler

Tom Butler

Tom Butler

The tally of Oregon House Republicans opting out - well over half a year before the filing deadline - rises now to six (that's six out of a total of 29), with the upcoming departure of Tom Butler of Ontario.

Unlike some of the other Republican departures, this one has only a slim chance of affecting the partisan balance in the chamber. His district 60 is the southeastern part of the state - Malheur, Harney and Baker counties and the remote southeastern part of Grant - and this is solidly Republican territory, all of these counties running 2-1 (or better) Republican. Butler, elected five times to this seat, was solidly entrenched. But since this is an open seat, in what is looking like another Democratic cycle, Democrats may be encouraged to run a candidate to try to pull higher than normal numbers here, as an added push for local and statewide Democratic candidates. Still, Butler's successor will highly likely be a Republican. (One side note there: Baker City's Chuck Butcher, who has run for the U.S. House, probably would make a strong Democratic nominee here.)

His departure has another impact at the Statehouse. Butler has been one of the leading figures on tax issues in the legislature, and the mix of discussion and pressure points is likely to change with his departure.

First impressions and Bill Sali

Bill Sali

Bill Sali

Today's poll numbers on Idaho 1st district politics have a parentage that makes them difficult to bypass: Ordered and distributed by Democrat Larry Grant's congressional campaign, but conducted with analysis by Republican pollster Greg Smith. An unusual kind of combination, regionally, but one suggesting solidity in the results.

The issue at hand is the numbers for the man who last year beat Grant for the U.S. House seat, Republican Bill Sali; and little wonder Grant wanted to note them, since Sali's support doesn't look especially strong from an incumbent who hasn't yet stepped in any major hornet nests. Not yet posted on the Grant web site, here's the summary from Smith:

The poll was conducted July 11-13 among 253 randomly selected and statistically representative Idahoans eighteen years of age or older (who live in Regions 1, 2, or 3) who are either very or somewhat likely to participate in either the Democratic caucus or Republican primary election in February and May, 2008, respectively. These respondents were interviewed utilizing the most modern CATI (computer assisted telephone interviewing) techniques. . . .

Among those with an impression of Larry Grant, the ratings are quite positive. For instance, 28% of Idaho voters in Regions 1/2/3 have a very/somewhat favorable impression of Grant, whereas only 13% have an unfavorable impression. This results in a 2:1 favorable/unfavorable ratio, which is quite positive. The challenge, however, is to create and/or enhance Grant’s image among the approximately 60% of Region 1/2/3 residents who either have heard of him but have no impression, or say they are unaware of him (about 30% in either case). The aware/no opinion concern is particularly present north of the Salmon River (Regions 1/2), where about 40% of respondents give this response.

In some ways, Bill Sali has similar impressions to Grant. He has an equally high level of “favorables” (29%), with 15% having a somewhat unfavorable impression. However, fully 31% of Region 1/2/3 voters have a very unfavorable impression of Sali, which is even slightly higher in Region 3 (38%). The resulting data have a margin of error of + 5.7% at a 95% confidence level.

A bottom line impression is that many of the negatives, or at least concerns, significant numbers of 1st district voters developed about Sali last year, appear to remain in place. And that may demonstrate the difficulty of changing impressions once formed, because the impression you could reasonably get of Sali during last year's campaign are fairly different from those of the last few months.

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Clinton’s Oregon beach head

Darlene Hooley

Darlene Hooley

Hillary Clinton hasn't so far made a lot of headway in the Northwest; among the Democratic presidential contenders, John Edwards and Barack Obama (and maybe Bill Richardson too) seem to have made more progress in the region. All of which seems a little odd for the candidate generally considered the Democratic front runner.

But on June 21 she picked up Washington Representative Jay Inslee as a supporter in that state, and now in Oregon Representative Darlene Hooley, who also was named as a co-chair of the campaign's rural issues group.

Showing that Clinton is beginning to pick up a bit in the Northwest. (Wondering, though, who in Idaho will dare to lead the Clinton march?) But considering the start her rivals have had, she's not yet to the point of pulling even in the region.