Poll: Merkley holds solid lead over GOP opponent

A new Democratic poll puts Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) comfortably ahead of Republican challenger Monica Wehby.

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It also indicates Wehby enters the general election fight deeply underwater with voters, after facing damaging media coverage of her personal relationships.

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, gives Merkley 50 percent support among Oregon registered voters to Wehby’s 36 percent support, with another 15 percent of respondents undecided.

It also shows that 41 percent of registered voters approve of his job performance, while 34 percent disapprove and, notably for an incumbent, a full quarter of respondents aren’t sure how they feel about him. That indicates there’s an opening for Republicans to define him in the minds of voters.

But it’s unclear whether Wehby can repair damage to her campaign amid allegations of stalking and harassing her exes, which came out just days before the primary.

The PPP poll shows only about a quarter of registered voters view her favorably, while 40 percent have an unfavorable view, and about a third are undecided.

Republicans initially lauded Wehby’s candidacy precisely because of her compelling and emotional backstory as a pediatric neurosurgeon.

PPP surveyed 956 registered voters from May 22-27, and the poll has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.