George Noorey

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BEND, OR -- With just two weeks left in this campaign season, candidates and those for and against ballot measures fight to get their message to voters. 

 

Recent polling shows decreasing support for Measure 97, Oregon’s controversial corporate sales tax. According to KBND political analysts and former State Representatives Judy Stiegler and Jason Conger, though, polling can be deceiving. Stiegler tells KBND News, "I think one of the fallacies of polling is that you’re never keyed into everybody. My guess is this is a lot closer than one would think. Any tax measure in this state is a hard fought battle, quite frankly." Conger agrees, "Especially sales tax." That means the fight over Measure 97 is likely to continue all the way to Election Day. Ad spending on both sides has already broken records. Conger and Stiegler say support largely falls along party lines: Governor Kate Brown and a number of other Democrats are for 97; Republicans generally oppose it. Former Governor John Kitzhaber (D) recently says he won't vote for the measure, either.

 

In another hotly contested race, Republican Dennis Richardson and Democrat Brad Avakian continue to fight for the Secretary of State's Office. In the past, it has arguably been an under-appreciated position -- until Gov. Kitzhaber resigned amid scandal, elevating then Secretary of State Kate Brown into the Governor’s office. Conger says, "What I find interesting about it is that it’s so close, and that there are a large percentage of undecided voters out there who are waiting to get information about those two candidates that would cause them to go one way or the other." He and Stiegler say there is a gender divide, with more men supporting Richardson and more women choosing Avakian. "Similarly, age-wise there’s a break, with over 45 are falling toward Richardson and under that are going towards Avakian." Conger says the split could be due to party affiliation, but Stiegler says campaign comments by both candidates are probably also a factor.   

 

For those local candidates without the benefit of polling or statewide exposure, this is an anxiety filled time. Stiegler says, "That goes with the territory. They’re getting their message to those last voters. We just got our ballots; people are starting to do that. It’s getting out the vote and making sure people have their message." Conger adds, "The ones who don’t have access to polling data are nervous. They’re looking out anecdotally for feedback on whether their campaign is being successful, whether their message is being well received and they’re going to be, probably, on pins and needles."

 
To hear our full conversation with Jason Conger and Judy Stiegler, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE

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