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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.

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