Nineteen days out and Jay Inslee still holds the hammer. Granted, he's in no position to start counting his chickens, but a recent slew of polls indicate that he might be able to at least tally a few chicks. The new polls, taken within the last week, all show the Washington Democrat leading Attorney General Rob McKenna. But "Warning Will Robinson," the contest is tightening.
The newest of the new polls is the KCTS' Washington Poll, which was released yesterday. The results are certain to bring smiles to the McKenna campaign, which haven't had much to cheer about in terms of polling data for quite some time.
The race is now a virtual dead heat, according to the survey, with Inslee at 47.9 percent and McKenna at 44.7 percent. Voters are leaning toward approving Referendum 74 (same sex marriage) and Initiative 502 (legalizing marijuana), while incumbent U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has a comfortable lead (58.3 percent) over her opponent Michael Baumgartner (34.8 percent. President Obama, meanwhile, is coasting to victory in the Evergreen State, leading 51.8 percent to Mitt Romney's 41.3 percent.
How much coattail effect Obama will have on Inslee's final margin remains to be seen, but without question, this poll and other recent surveys make it clear that a lot of people will be splitting their tickets.
The Washington Poll sampled 782 registered voters and was conducted between October 1 and October 16.The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
Two other public polls of note were taken by SurveyUSA, conducted Oct. 12-14, and showed Inslee leading 47 percent to 44 percent. A Rasmussen poll, which tends to have a GOP slant, was conducted last Sunday and had Inslee narrowly ahead by a 47 percent to 45 percent margin.
Former state Republican Party chairman Chris Vance believes the race is still very fluid and that McKenna's fortunes will depend a good part on how well Romney does here and nationwide.
"In order to win," Vance wrote earlier this week in Crosscut, "Rob McKenna needs a national atmosphere that is not too hostile to Republicans.
"As of now, he has that. (Vance may be right. Click here to see why.) Now he has to drive home a closing message that will convince tens of thousands of independents and soft Democrats who are going to vote for President Obama and Sen. Maria Cantwell, that they should cross over and support him for governor. Can he pull it off?"