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Posts published in “Day: May 13, 2008”

Guesswork in the air

Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley

Steve Novick

Steve Novick

The big battle this morning over at Blue Oregon has to do with the latest polling results - two of them - in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary.

The Portland Tribune and KPTV-TV poll (Davis/Hibbits poll, 4.8% MOE) has attorney Steve Novick leading House Speaker Jeff Merkley 29%-23%. The other, third in a series of SurveyUSA polls (MOE 4%), has Merkley moving in a lead (after being behind previously), 31%-27%.

Two things jump out from both of these polls.

One is the high percentages still being attributed to the other, lesser-known candidates. Candy Neville has turned in some solid debate performances, but she doesn't have a large-scale campaign, and we'd be stunned if she got the 11% SUSA now projects (Hibbitts' 3% seems closer to the mark), and the others aren't likely to reach much past a percentage point each.

More striking is the large number of still-undecided voters - 43% according to Hibbitts, 24% according to SUSA.

Bearing in mind the margins of error, the high votes for the other candidates and the massive undecideds, the take-away from these polls seems obvious: No one knows what the hell is going to happen.

If asked

Can't pass this one up. The Hill newspaper at D.C. asked all of the U.S. senators - all but the three running for president - what they would say if asked to join a ticket and run for vice president.

A few suggested that, sure, if asked, they'd probably do it, or at least give it serious thought. (Great answer from Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson: “I would not be so presumptuous as to think I’d even thought about that. And I’d have to talk to my wife. Hey, that’s an honest answer.” And it doubtless is.)

Senators Gordon Smith of Oregon and Mike Crapo of Idaho simply dismissed the prospect; Patty Murray of Washington said she would be "honored" but figure the prospect unlikely. Maria Cantwell of Washington: “Does that include any sports picks or anything like that? … I would certainly consider it.”

Ron Wyden of Oregon had a more involved answer: “I have a unique perspective on this. I am the only senator to have announced I am not running for president because there should be someone here to serve as the Senate’s designated driver. I intend to stay in that position. The Senate needs a designated driver to stay behind and work on healthcare.”

But first place for top answer goes to Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig (whose recent background surely needs no description here). Succinct: “I would say ‘No, Hillary.’ ”