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Undecided disparity

What jumped out first from the new SurveyUSA poll on Oregon’s 5th U.S. House district is the undecideds, and the disparity between those on the Republican and Democratic sides.

Among the Republicans, the bulk of voters (according to the results) seem to have made of their minds, not that the race seems yet settled as a result. The main candidates are 2006 Republican nominee Mike Erickson and former legislator (and former gubernatorial candidate) Kevin Mannix; this first run shows them at 44% and 40% respectively, with 17% undecided.

Is that an indication that, among Republicans at least, the two are well-known? That Mannix – a major statewide figure on the ballot for major office for years – would be makes sense. But did Erickson really become that well known off his 2006 TV ads for the House seat? Who knows; maybe he did. There’s been a presumption that the nomination here is highly likely to go to Mannix, but maybe (especially bearing in mind the short run from here to voting) that assumption has been unwarranted.

On the Democratic side, the situation is a little different: The voters don’t seem to know who these guys are. The main contenders are state Senator Kurt Schrader of Canby (who ought to be fairly well-known in the Clackamas part of the district) and former governor’s chief of staff Steve Marks, who has some good ties but logically isn’t a known quantity at large. Support for them ws noted at 23% and 20% respectively, suggesting they’re starting almost from similar points, and the race is up for grabs. That the race is open, though, should be clear from the 57% who said they’re undecided: That’s a big portion of voters who have no idea who these candidates are.

Shall we say there are no foregone conclusions in the 5th?

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