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Hitting The Oregon Trail


The most astonishing poll of the campaign? According to Riley Research, George W. Bush has opened a five-point lead over John Kerry in Oregon. Yet Oregon isn’t one of those states, such as Iowa or New Hampshire, that in recent weeks has been flipping back and forth between the candidates. Oregon has been solid for Kerry—solid.

My guess is that there are a couple of factors at work. The first? Ballot Measure 36, which would amend the Oregon constitution as follows: “Only marriage between one man and one woman is valued or legally recognized as marriage.” Mike Reagan tells me that he was in Oregon for “Yes on 36″ rally just a few days ago—and that the measure has aroused and heartened conservatives throughout the state.

The second factor? George W. Bush himself. The president appeared in Oregon just the other day. And if nothing else, that use of the chief executive’s time—that sally into a state his opponent should have locked up by now—says something mighty encourageing about the polls the president and Karl Rove must be reading. The president’s base is secure. He may attack.


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