Democrat Tina Kotek holds a narrow lead over Republican Christine Drazan in the Oregon gubernatorial race, according to a new poll, reversing recent surveys that had found Kotek trailing her Republican opponent.
An Emerson College Polling survey released on Friday found Kotek, the former state House speaker, leading Drazan, a former state House minority leader, 44 percent to 40 percent among very likely voters in the state.
Eight percent said they were supporting independent candidate Betsy Johnson, a former senator who was previously a Democrat, while another 6 percent said they were undecided.
When the survey factors in undecided voters who were asked toward whom they were leaning, Kotek’s support increased to 46 percent and Drazan and Johnson both gained one point.
The polling could represent a change in momentum for Democrats who had launched into panic mode earlier this cycle about their chances at continuing their blue streak in the state’s governor’s mansion. Republicans sought to tie Kotek to Gov. Kate Brown (D), who has polled as the most unpopular governor in the country.
Complicating Democrats’ chances at the governorship was Johnson, who raked in much more fundraising than is typical for an independent candidate and held double-digit support in earlier polls. Those factors seemed to suggest that Republicans could have a shot at the governor’s mansion for the first time since 1982.
An Emerson College Polling survey released last month, for example, showed Drazan leading Kotek 36-34 percent, albeit within the margin of error.
“Kotek holds a 14-point lead among Oregon women voters, whereas Drazan holds a nine-point lead among male voters. In a state where the voting population is nearly evenly split, Kotek’s larger base of women voters could win her the plurality of support,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said on Friday about their latest poll.
The Emerson College Polling survey released on Friday was conducted with 975 very likely voters between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.