Polls show Measure 79 not resonating with voters

PORTLAND, Ore. - Homeowners in Oregon are hearing a lot about real estate transfer taxes.

State law already prevents such a tax but Measure 79 would amend the Oregon Constitution to permanently prohibit transfer taxes.

Poll results show Measure 79 may not be resonating with voters.

You may have seen the TV ads with the bull's-eyes on top of houses or the guy wrestling a cartoon house. They're clever enough to get your attention but two polls demonstrate that the ads aren't doing enough to move voters.

The first poll was taken in August. It came from the progressive group Defend Oregon, which opposes Measure 79.

The group paid its political consultant to survey 300 likely voters in August and found 57 percent opposed Measure 79.

Since then realtors have continued spending millions trying to get Measure 79 passed.

But a new poll taken last weekend for Defend Oregon shows 54 percent of likely voters are still unconvinced about Measure 79. Defend Oregon argues the measure is failing in spite of a deceptive ad campaign by supporters.

"It's really unnecessary," said Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury. "There's already a law prohibiting this tax. There's no tax that's being out there right now. No home is being threatened. That this is really just an attempt on behalf of the realtors to put something into the (state) Constitution that doesn't belong there."

"The reality is state law can be changed at the drop of a hat," said Jon Coney, spokesman for the "Yes on Measure 79" campaign. "There have been so many efforts to date by many interest groups, the city of Portland for instance, to remove the existing preemption against real estate transfer taxes, and the state Legislature could enact a statewide one at anytime."

Measure 79 supporters believe the campaign will tighten by Election Day. But these poll numbers suggest the measure has little chance of passing this year.