Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington Senate Close

There's a pretty strong argument that the Washington Senate race is the most stable in the country: PPP finds Patty Murray leading Dino Rossi 49-47, basically identical to our July poll of the race that found her ahead 49-46.

The reason for the stability is that voters know these candidates, they know what they think of them, and nothing they've heard during this campaign has changed those opinions in one direction or the other. In July Murray's approval rating was 46/45. Now it's 47/48. In July Rossi's favorability was 43/48. Now it's 44/49. This is a race where persuasion means little and everything will hinge on who bothers to cast their ballots in the next few weeks.

PPP has seen an increase in Democratic interest in many states as the election moves closer but Washington is not one of them and that's the main reason Rossi is still in this thing. Barack Obama won the state by 17 points in 2008 but those planning to vote this year supported him by only 7 points, giving Washington one of the larger enthusiasm gaps we're seeing across the country. If she can get more of those Obama voters who seem likely to drop off to cast their ballots this year she has a chance to win by a more comfortable margin but if things stay as they are this contest is firmly in the toss up category.

In addition to being the most stagnant race in the country Washington also provides one of the most polarizing contests anywhere this year. Murray has 93% of the Democratic vote locked up while Rossi's getting 91% of the Republicans. Appeal across party lines is basically nonexistent for both candidates. Independents are going for Rossi by a 49/43 margin.

One hopeful sign for Murray in the poll is that she leads 52-47 with the 14% of voters who say they've already case their ballots. Working against her is that Obama now has a negative 46/48 approval rating in the state and for the most part voters who don't like Obama aren't voting for Democrats this year. Looks like this one could be a nail biter.

Full results here


MilesC56 said...

This goes against most of what you said in the preview!

After reading the WA preview, I thought Murray would have a lea of at least 5.

Chuck T said...

That is closer than I expected and it's going to come down to GOTV. Murray is close to 50% so if she can generate some more enthusiasm in the next two weeks she should be able to get the 50.1 she needs to win.

Bill R. said...

This won't be a "nail-biter". Murray will win with a good margin.

Anonymous said...

This is the type of story I want you posting instead of that OMG DEMS SERGE!

Anonymous said...

good news for her is that even if she loses the actual election da vote by 1% or less she would win thanks to voters that have already voted

Anonymous said...

Where are all the trolls calling you a left-wing mouthpiece now? Funny, they seem to disappear in light of evidence that contradicts their baseless claim. Imagine that.

This race will be close, but until we see polls of Rossi consistently leading my money is still on Murray. Since both candidates are so well known, it's highly unlikely that Rossi gets an unexpected bump come election time - something that a challenger frequently enjoys in a wave year. Also troubling for Rossi is that multiple polls have showed him tied in the WA-03 district. That's his old state Senate district and political base. If he can't clean up Murray in the Seattle suburbs he's done.

Rasmus said...

Hey Tom/Dustin,

I thought you might be interested to check out my analysis of your PPP/DailyKos poll.


I think it's pretty interesting, but hey, I'm the guy who wrote it so I'm not exactly unbiased.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"This is the type of story I want you posting instead of that OMG DEMS SERGE!"

We post what the polls say.

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