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Poll: Either Democrat would beat any Republican in governor's race.

Byline: David Steves The Register-Guard

Either Gov. Ted Kulongoski or his Democratic primary challenger, Jim Hill, would handily beat any of three Republicans in November, according to a new survey.

The telephone survey, by the national polling firm Rasmussen Reports, found that Kulongoski would beat Republican Kevin Mannix, 51 percent to 36 percent. He would defeat Republican Ron Saxton, 47 percent to 33 percent, and he would outpoll Republican Jason Atkinson, 48 percent to 36 percent.

In the same poll, Hill, a former treasurer, also does well against Republicans. He led Atkinson, 42 percent to 36 percent. Hill was ahead of Saxton 44 percent to 31 percent. And he outpolled Mannix, 47 percent to 35 percent.

The poll did not ask voters how they would vote if other gubernatorial candidates, including Democratic Lane County Commissioner Peter Sorenson, were in the race.

Oregon political scientist Jim Moore said the survey results underscored a trend he has observed in state politics.

"What we've seen over the past decade is still true: that Oregon is trending Democratic for statewide offices," said Moore, a professor at Pacific University in Forest Grove and a commentator. "It would take a remarkable Republican to start out the election even with the Demo- crats."

Moore said the poll suggests that Republicans would have to capture virtually all of the undecided voters' support and to raise enough money to "put out a message that catches on with the voters" to overcome an early disadvantage in the polls.

The survey also found that Hill is viewed more favorably than Kulongoski is. Hill, who lost to Kulongoski in the Democratic primary four years ago, is viewed favorably by 54 percent and unfavorably by 42 percent of those polled. Kulongoski was viewed favorably by 50 percent of likely voters and unfavorably by 46 percent.

Moore said this was not surprising. As an incumbent, Kulongoski is better known and thus, more likely to have put off some voters than Hill, who is not familiar to many voters, having been out of public office for seven years.

Rasmussen Reports conducted its telephone survey of 500 likely Oregon voters on Feb. 23. The margin of sampling error for the survey was plus or minus 4.5 percent.
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Title Annotation:Politics; The survey shows former treasurer Hill rates better with voters than Kulongoski
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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