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Trump Has Early Lead in Oregon—But Will It Last?

Monday, August 24, 2015

 

Early in the 2016 Presidential election cycle, the voters of Oregon have showed their support for outsider candidates, including Republican Donald Trump.

In a recent poll conducted by DMH Research, a Portland-based research firm, 18 percent of the 536 Oregon Republicans surveyed said they supported Trump in the upcoming primary. 12 percent favored Scott Walker of Wisconsin, 11 percent picked Jeb Bush of Florida and 10 percent chose Marco Rubio, also of Florida.

Those polls reflect national feelings on the brash businessman’s campaign, as Trump has continuously placed at the head of national polls.

Why Oregonians like Trump

Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign press secretary, told GoLocal the campaign was excited about the support Trump has received so far in Oregon.

“Mr. Trump has a great vision and the people of Oregon are responding to it,” she said. “They are ready to make America great again.”

Bill Currier, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, told GoLocal he was not surprised by the support Trump has received.

“He’s clearly connecting with people,” he said. “He’s addressing issues people want to talk about…and talking about a lot of pent-up frustrations that people in this state and around the country have.”

Immigration Issues

Currier said that Trump’s stand on immigration has struck a chord with many in Oregon. Trump has spoken often on the subject, and has campaigned on a platform of stricter regulations. He has also said he wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to help fortify the border.

Currier said those views resonate with many voters in Oregon.

“He’s obviously connecting with people on the topic of immigration, or I don’t think his support would be as strong,” he said.

He noted that immigration has been a hot topic in Oregon recently, and said that the defeat of a provision that would have provided driver cards to those who cannot prove their legal residency is a prime example.

“Immigration in Oregon is a major issue right now,” he said. “Measure 88 failed by a margin of two-to-one, and I think you’re seeing that reflected in his support.”

John Horvick, vice president and political director of DHM, said Trump’s views on immigration appeal to voters who value that issue above all others. He agreed it has helped his campaign in Oregon.

“Immigration is one of the issues that if it maters to people, then it really matters to people,” he said. “I think the language he’s using on the subject is really resonating with people who care about that.”

Donald Trump

Criticism Gets Results

Horvick also said that Trump’s heavy criticism of the Obama administration has resonated with voters in Oregon and around the country.

“If you look at the polling, the candidates doing the best, not just Trump…are the ones who are critical of leadership,” he explained. “There seems to be an anti-establishment sentiment among voters early in the process.

Currently, the Trump campaign has no events planned for Oregon, nor do they have a campaign office in the state. Hicks, with the Trump campaign, said plans were being made to visit in the near future.

“We certainly plan on getting out there to talk with voters sometime soon,” she said.

Will Support Last?

Recent polls show Trump gaining, not losing, support as the primary season rolls on. In spite of this, Horvick questioned if Trump had reached, or would soon reach, his peak.

“If you look at polls, while his numbers were rising, they haven’t been rising continuously,” he said. “It makes me wonder if he may have reached his ceiling.”

Oregon Republican Party chair Currier said that there would be plenty of changes before votes are cast in the first primaries next year.

“There will be many changes in support,” he said. “Support will increase and decrease for many different candidates as the election season continues. We still have a lot to go before the primaries begin.”

One piece of concerning information for Trump comes from the same DHM poll that puts him in the lead in Oregon. In the poll, the vast majority of respondents said they did not think Trump would secure the Republican nomination in 2016.

Jeb Bush received the highest marks in that category, with 38 percent predicting he would win the nomination.

26 percent said they were unsure who would win the nomination. Trump received the second highest number of any candidate, with 12 percent saying he would face off against a democratic challenger in 2016.

Horvick said he believes voters who favored Bush to win the nomination were most likely basing their predictions of recent GOP history.

“Trump is an unusual person, but this is not an unusual pattern,” he said.  “…If you look at 2008 and 2012 we saw Republican voters flirt with fringe candidates before finally settling on the presumptive nominee fairly early on.”

Currier said for Trump to maintain his support, both in Oregon and nationally, he will have to give specific points on his proposed policies.

“He’s started to do that already, with his immigration policies,” Currier said. “He will have to shift his focus to other specific policy measures.”

 

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