Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mixed Bag for Hill in Oregon Come Tuesday

Running for governor as an African American isn't easy anywhere in America and it's doubly tough out west. In Oregon it may be three times as tough. The Beaver state only has 55, 662 African Americans (1.6% of the total population) as of the last census. However, that has not deterred former state Treasurer Jim Hill ( from running for the state's top office.

Hill, one of three blacks campaigning for the governorship in the west (Barbara Bencel in California, and George Bailey in New Mexico, received good and bad news in recent polls. In a late February poll done by Rasmussen Reports showed Hill leading all three top Republican candidates by healthy margins and enjoying a higher favorable rating than the incumbent governor he's seeking to knock off,

The problem for Hill, who has won statewide twice in 1992 and 1996, is that he trails badly against the incumbent Ted Kulongoski. In a Survey USA poll done on May 9th, Hill trails Kulongoski 49% to 25% with the other democratic candidate Pete Sorenson coming in third with 15% and 10% undecided.

The numbers are somewhat baffling since Rasmussen had Hill with not only a higher favorable rating but a lower unfavorable rating by 4 points in each case. They like Jim Hill. And more people dislike the governor than dislike Jim Hill, yet he finds himself trailing by 24 points in an independent poll with the primary on Tuesday.

But such is the road trod by African Americans campaigning statewide in America.

Prediction: Kulongoski nips Hill by 8 points


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