On the Ground in Oregon
Well, darn it! I knew I should have posted the “Oregon could be in play,” post last week like I wanted. Now everyone knows, and it just seems like I’m piling on… Hot Air has the story this morning, with a link from the famously-horrible Oregonian website, OregonLive.
President Barack Obama holds a relatively narrow lead of six points over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Oregon, according to a new poll conducted for The Oregonian.
Obama’s lead is considerably smaller than his margin of victory in Oregon four years ago and is a sign of how tight the presidential race has become across the nation.
Ed Morrissey notes:
In 2008, the exit polls showed a D+9 turnout, with Obama winning 9% of Republicans, and taking independents by 23 points, 59/36. Clearly those conditions have changed in Oregon, and an incumbent who doesn’t get to 50% with a week to go probably won’t close particularly well in the final seven days.
Oregon, if you’ve never been here, is a bunch of people crammed into the relatively small Willamette Valley that drive all the voting, and then the other 4/5 of the state… the Coast area is fairly dense in some places with an interesting mix of people. The rest of the state east of the Cascade Mountain range is ranchland, some farms, lots of nothing, and all Romney. We drove through the East Side a couple weeks ago, and it’s clearly all going to swing Republican… and still won’t really matter a ton. The towns of Bend and Redmond make up the only six-digit population area, and while they’ll be close, they look to be R as well.
Even while out on my soggy run this morning, my normally liberal neighborhood was absent any Obama signs, while Romney got a lot of coverage. Things would certainly change if I headed more downtown or to the east side of the river, but a couple people have heard me comment that it’s going to be a lot closer than people think.
Oregon has not been doing all that well, though the left-leaning areas have been better. Deschuttes County, where Bend/Redmond reside still has the highest unemployment in the nation, and many of the people out there are at best underemployed and just getting by.
I don’t think there’s a strategic fault here on the Romney side. Nobody could have imagined that Oregon would be even close. However, that goes a lot farther to describe the state of the nation, and how far and fast the hyperbole of the last election cycle has fallen.