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Weed Legalization Measure Too Close to Call, KATU Poll Shows

Kitzhaber, Merkley still hold comfortable leads.

With less than a month until ballots are mailed, an exclusive poll conducted by KATU-TV shows the fight over legal marijuana is tightening, and the outcome is now too close to call.

The SurveyUSA poll, conducted Sept. 22 through 24, shows 44 percent of likely voters support Measure 91, which would legalize recreational marijuana. Another 40 percent are opposed. That's well within the poll's 4.2 percent margin of error. The remaining 16 percent say they haven't decided.

Support for legal weed has eroded since a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KATU in August, which showed Measure 91 leading 52 percent to 40 percent.

The worst news for backers of Measure 91: It trails by 28 percent among seniors, the most likely voters in off-year elections.

The KATU poll also shows the races for governor and U.S. senator virtually unchanged—and not close.

Gov. John Kitzhaber holds a steady 12-point lead in his bid for a fourth term over state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point), while U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has slightly widened his lead to 20 points over challenger Monica Wehby.

Kitzhaber leads Richardson (R-Central Point) 50 percent to 38 percent, a one-percentage point tightening from last month's poll. Merkley leads Wehby 52 percent to 32 percent, increasing his lead by two percentage points since June.

Kitzhaber is maintaining a comfortable lead even though 41 percent of likely voters say he deserves all or most of the blame for the Cover Oregon website fiasco. More than a third of voters—36 percent—say the insurance portal's failure will be a major factor in how they vote.

Another contest with little suspense is the state's most expensive: genetically modified organisms. Ballot Measure 92, which would require labeling of foods containing GMOs, is winning by 32 percentage points.