According to some reports Thursday morning, the Oregon's governor race was suddenly up for grabs. A new poll, as it was reported anyway, showed voters making a huge swing from the incumbent Democrat to his Republican opponent as scandals engulfed the governor's fiancee. But there was a big problem: The poll didn't ask a straight-up head-to-head question. But it was treated as such, anyway, sparking a momentary freakout among political watchers.
"A dramatic shift in poll numbers has taken place since Governor John Kitzhaber’s campaign became riddled with scandal," declared Portland radio station KXL. "A poll commissioned by KATU has Dennis Richardson with a surprising double-digit lead,"
The radio station's report was tweeted out by Political Wire:
But this wasn't a straight-up horse race poll. It was delving into a subset of the respondents to find out how much of an impact the recent scandal was having.
Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber's fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, has been the center of controversy in recent weeks, with revelations that she had married an Ethiopian migrant in the 1990s for money and worked at a pot farm around the same time.
So the new Survey USA poll asked about it and the results didn't look good for Kitzhaber, who has held a consistent and sizable lead over GOP challenger Dennis Richardson. But the pollster had not asked a traditional "Would you vote for..." question.
But that didn't stop some of the coverage from comparing this poll to other recent horse race polls.
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