Oregonlive.com - July 28, 2016
A new poll released Wednesday shows Oregon's gubernatorial candidates locked in a virtual dead heat.
The poll, conducted July 9-13 found 43.3 percent of respondents would vote for Brown and 42 percent would vote for Pierce. The poll included telephone interviews with 701 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.71 percentage points.
Pollster Fritz Wenzel said he conducted the survey on his own because of his own interest and personal connections to Oregon.
"I grew up in Oregon and have always tracked what's happening there politically," he said. "This particular poll was not commissioned in any way by the Pierce campaign."
Biographies of two of the company's four partners show strong ties to Republican political organizations. Wenzel's own biography includes no past Republican links. The company has a C-rating on FiveThirtyEight.com's poll tracker, which says Wenzel's surveys tend to lean Republican.
Pierce welcomed the poll's results.
"Since the primary, many polls have indicated a similar trend," he said. "This is more evidence that it is already a tight race between myself and the governor."
Brown's campaign did not return messages seeking comment.
However, a poll of registered voters conducted last month for Democrats by a Democratic polling organization found that 55 percent of participants approved of Brown's work thus far as governor.
A smaller segment -- 21 percent -- said they strongly approved, with the remaining 34 percent saying they "somewhat approved" of Brown's record so far.
Wenzel said the results of his new poll indicate that Republican Donald Trump's place at the top of the Republican ticket may benefit not only Pierce, but also other down-ballot Republicans.
"In past election cycles in Oregon, women have turned out in significantly greater percentages than men," he said. "If you look at Trump's performance in the Oregon primary, he attracted a much larger male vote than any other leader in the Republican party has for a couple of election cycles at least. That's bound to benefit candidates on the ballot below him."
One reason many men have sat out the last two presidential elections, Wenzel said in his polling summary, is that the Republican ticket -- headed in 2008 by John McCain and in 2012 by Mitt Romney -- lacked what he described as a "man's man" running for the White House.
Asked about his choice of words, Wenzel said, "That's just my opinion. I'm simply interpreting the data and looking at historical turnouts here."
Among independent voters, according to the poll, Pierce holds a 41 percent to 29 percent advantage over Brown. Both candidates, he said, are struggling to win significant support from their own party members, with both currently claiming about 74 percent of their own party's respective voters.