Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley is running neck-and-neck with Republican challenger Monica Wehby, according to a new Daily Caller/Vox Populi Polling survey of registered voters in the state.
Wehby, a Portland-based pediatric neurosurgeon, received the support of 40 percent of respondents, while an additional five percent say they are leaning towards supporting the first-time candidate. Merkley, who was elected to the Senate in 2008, garners the support of just 39 percent of respondents, with two percent saying they lean towards supporting him.
Fourteen percent of voters said they do not know whom they would support.
According to Vox Populi’s Brent Seaborn, the poll shows that “the Senate race in Oregon is very much in play for Republicans.”
The poll also indicates that a plurality of voters in the deep-blue state see Obamacare as a mostly failed venture. Forty-six percent of respondents said Obamacare and Cover Oregon, the state’s disastrously flawed health care exchange, were failures, while 17 percent said they were successes, and 37 percent said they were “somewhere in between.”
Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber also looks like he may be fighting an uphill battle in his re-election contest against Republican Dennis Richardson, with both men receiving 40 percent support from respondents.
Nearly a third of respondents had no opinion of Merkley. Nineteen percent said they had a strongly favorable opinion of the freshman senator, and 17 percent said they see him in a somewhat favorable light. Sixteen percent said they had a strongly unfavorable opinion of Merkley, while another 16 percent said they had a somewhat favorable opinion.
Earlier polls have shown Wehby within striking distance of Merkley, which the latter’s campaign attempted to rebut last week by leaking an internal poll that showed him running away with a 20 point lead.
And Wehby still has to defeat state Rep. Jason Conger for the Republican nomination before she can face Merkley. Wehby, though, has a considerable cash advantage over her Republican opponent, and on Thursday secured the endorsement of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“The scandal surrounding Cover Oregon and Senator Merkley’s relatively low name ID combined with Republican candidate Monica Wehby’s popularity amongst Republicans, Democrats and independents, puts this race on the map,” said Seaborn.