PORTLAND — Opposition research polling by the campaign of Gov. Kate Brown on the GOP front-runner for governor, Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, shows that while his name recognition has grown to a third of the electorate, his overall favorability rating has declined over the past year.

A statement by the Brown campaign said the poll results showed “Buehler is viewed unfavorably by both Democrats and independents, while Republicans are unenthusiastic about him.”

Buehler campaign manager Rebecca Tweed called the poll “sad.”

“Gov. Brown is more interested in releasing polls than she is in saving the Oregon Health Plan from her incompetence and rescuing failing Oregon schools from her indifference and failed leadership,” Tweed said.

The poll, provided to The Bulletin by the Brown campaign, was conducted by GBA Strategies, a Washington, D.C., polling firm that works primarily with Democrats and for what its website calls “advancing progressive policy solutions.”

According to Oregon campaign finance records, Brown has spent $212,305.10 with the firm since 2015, including $30,799.58 so far this year.

The poll compares Buehler’s name recognition and favorable/unfavorable ratings between a poll taken in December 2016 to numbers in October 2017.

The dates of the polling show Brown has been polling on the 2018 governor’s race since the month after winning the 2016 special election to finish the term of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who resigned in early 2015 in response to influence-peddling allegations.

The poll, paid for by Brown’s campaign, also collected numbers on Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, a Republican. However, the Brown campaign said that since Richardson announced he was not running for governor, those poll numbers would not be released. They also declined to release numbers on any polling regarding Brown.

The opposition polling asked 600 likely voters if they knew of Buehler and if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion.

The December 2016 poll showed 76 percent of likely voters did not know who Buehler was, 5 percent had a favorable opinion, 8 percent an unfavorable opinion and 11 percent had no opinion.

The October poll showed that 67 percent of respondents did not know who Buehler was, 9 percent had a favorable opinion, 15 percent had an unfavorable opinion and 9 percent had no opinion.

The October poll breaks down the results by self-identified Republicans, Democrats and nonaffiliated voters (identified in the poll as “independents”).

Among Republicans, Buehler was not known by 63 percent, while 15 percent had a favorable opinion, 11 percent unfavorable and 11 percent no opinion.

Among Democrats, Buehler was not known by 66 percent, while 6 percent had a favorable opinion, 20 percent unfavorable and 8 percent no opinion.

Among unaffiliated voters, Buehler was not known by 70 percent, while 7 percent had a favorable rating, 13 percent unfavorable and 10 percent no opinion.

— Reporter: 541-525-5280, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated a subset of poll responses. The Bulletin regrets the error.