A new poll of Republican voters in Oregon finds that Donald Trump has a double-digit lead in the state's May 17 primary, while Ted Cruz is second despite pulling out of the state.
The poll by the Portland-based Hoffman Research Group shows 43 percent support Trump. Twenty-six percent favor Cruz and 17 percent back John Kasich. It is the first public poll of the Republican presidential race in Oregon this year.
Cruz has agreed not to campaign in Oregon and New Mexico in exchange for Kasich pulling out of Indiana. The two are trying to prevent Trump from getting a majority of delegates in advance of the convention. Each hopes to win in a multi-ballot convention.
Pollster Tim Nashif said Trump appears to have gotten a boost from his recent sweep of six Northeast states. And he said the Cruz-Kasich deal could have backfired with voters.
"I think that just got a lot of people fed up," said Nashif, referring to the deal. He said voters tend not to like such gamesmanship. His poll was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday night, in the wake of Trump's sweep of five Northeastern states on Wednesday.
The survey also found that 49 percent of Republican voters view Trump favorably, while 40 percent have an unfavorable view. That's in line with the 53 percent approval rating Trump had among Republicans in a late February poll conducted for Oregon Public Broadcasting. Cruz is rated positively by 42 percent and negatively by 37 percent of Republican voters.
Kasich is seen positively by 34 percent and negatively by 25 percent. Kasich is also the least-known among the three Republican candidates, with 17 percent saying they had never heard of him him, even as the candidate has a scheduled stops in Portland and Medford on Thursday. That indicates that his failure to get a statement in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet could have cost him votes.
Only 2 percent of the respondents said they had not heard of Cruz. All of them said they knew about Trump.
There is a strong gender gap, with 53 percent of men saying they supported Trump compared with 34 percent of women. Older voters are also more likely to support the New York businessman. He also has higher support among people who are less-frequent voters.
Nashif does a variety of commercial and political research, as well as other communication-related activities. Hoffman Research is a subsidiary of Gateway Communications, also based in Portland.
Nashif has been active in Republican politics, but said he isn’t working with any of the presidential campaigns. The telephone poll of 555 Republican voters was conducted this week and has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.