New Polls: Casino, presidential, pot and the 'kicker' poll debate

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new poll shows that a ballot measure legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana for adults in Oregon lost a bit of support over the past month.

The SurveyUSA poll, which was conducted exclusively for KATU News, shows that 43 percent of likely voters are against Measure 80, while 36 percent support the marijuana measure.

Twenty-one percent of people said they are still not certain how they will vote.

Those results are similar to a KATU poll released on September 13. In that poll, 41 percent of likely voters were against the measure and 37 percent were in favor. Twenty-two percent said they were not sure.

Support among registered Democrats dropped by ten points in the last five weeks.

The margin of error in both polls was around +/- 4.2 percentage points.

Casino measures

The latest SurveyUSA poll shows that supporters of the proposed "Grange" casino in Wood Village probably made the right call by suspending their campaign this week.

In the past five weeks, opposition has grown to both a state constitutional change that would allow privately-owned casinos and a measure specifically allowing the Wood Village project.

The number of people voting against the constitutional change, Measure 82, has grown from 43 percent to 53 percent. The number of people opposed to the measure allowing the Wood Village project, Measure 83, has grown from 39 percent to 54 percent.

"No" votes for both measures have commanding leads over the "yes" votes.

Corporate kicker measure

SurveyUSA also polled voters on Measure 85, which would use the corporate income/excise tax "kicker" to help fund schools. The polling company took some heat from backers of Measure 85 and in the blogosphere over how the question was asked last month.

In the September poll, the pollsters asked: "On Measure 85, which is about a corporate tax 'kicker,' are you certain to vote yes? Certain to vote no? Or not certain?"

With the question asked in that way, 14 percent said they were certain to vote yes, 21 percent said they were certain to vote no but 65 percent said they weren't certain how they'd vote.

The complaint was that there was not enough information given for voters to determine what the measure was about.

SurveyUSA's chief executive officer Jay Leve told The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes that the point to the question was to determine where the measure was on the public's radar. He told Mapes the high number of people who were unsure "suggests to me this is not a high visibility measure at this hour."

When SurveyUSA asked the exact same question this month, voters responded in much the same way: 15 percent yes; 25 percent no; 60 percent not certain. Using Leve's reasoning, the measure is still barely a blip on the public's radar scope.

This month, however, SurveyUSA also asked respondents the more traditional poll question that explicitly stated what a "yes" vote would do as opposed to a "no" vote.

With the question asked that way, a majority of respondents said they would support using the corporate kicker to help fund schools - 53 percent said yes; 26 percent said no to the idea and 21 percent said they were undecided.

Presidential Race

President Barack Obama has lost some ground in Oregon, although he still maintains a seven point lead over Mitt Romney in this latest poll, which was taken entirely after Tuesday's town hall debate.

SurveyUSA found that 49 percent of the respondents would vote for Obama while 42 percent would vote for Romney. Five percent were undecided.

Obama has gained ground among men, but his lead among women has shrunk.

In previous polls, Obama trailed Romney by three points among men. He now leads by two points. However, among women, his lead has dropped from 21 points down to 11 points.

According to Survey USA, Romney voters are also voting more "for" Romney than they are voting "against" Barack Obama. That shows that Romney is seen today as more of an attractive candidate, not just an "anybody but Obama" candidate.

Steve Benham politics editor contributed to this report.