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Firstly, our best wishes to Senator Ted Kennedy.

While Barack Obama appears to have a fairly safe lead in Oregon overall, both SurveyUSA and American Research Group have the race essentially tied among people who have already mailed in their ballots. Should Obama be worried?

I’m guessing not for a couple of reasons.

1. Neither candidate is acting like they’re sweating the result in Oregon. While Barack Obama is out there today, he’s spent his last couple of days in South Dakota and Michigan. And Clinton has Bill out in Oregon today rather than campaigning there herself.

2. As we noted in North Carolina, early voters tend to be older — a key Clinton demographic.

3. Turnout is probably easier to estimate in Oregon than in most other states, as it’s a closed primary and has a tradition of strong turnout. So, it’s unlikely that the pollsters are making wild assumptions with their likely voter models.

I do think the result in Oregon could turn out to be closer than expected. But I don’t think the outcome is in all that much doubt.

EDIT: To point #1 above, see this item from The Swamp:

[T]here will be no head-to-head combat before Tuesday’s voting deadline in Oregon’s vote-by-mail primary. After dropping in for a day of made-for-TV campaigning, Clinton scrapped her Saturday plans here and headed for Kentucky, which also votes Tuesday. That leaves Barack Obama alone in this state all weekend, starting today with a rally in the Southern Oregon town of Roseburg, and continuing tomorrow in Portland and rodeo hub Pendleton.

Say what you will about Clinton’s schedule, but know this: Some of her allies say privately it’s not close to the full-court press she would need to upset Obama in Oregon.

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