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McClatchy-Marist poll: Senate race virtually tied

Post by lesblumenthal on Oct. 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm with 17 Comments »
October 19, 2010 4:16 pm

WASHINGTON – With voters beginning to cast their ballots, Washington’s U.S. Senate race is a virtual dead heat, with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holding a 1-point lead, 48-47 percent, over Republican challenger Dino Rossi among likely voters, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Tuesday.

The outcome could determine whether Republicans pick up the 10 seats they need to regain control of the Senate. The poll was taken late last week as almost all Washington voters received their mail ballots and began voting.

“This is indeed a cliffhanger, any way you carve up the numbers,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which conducted the survey.

“The road to a Republican majority in the Senate could go through Washington state.”

Other recent polls have shown a volatile race, with Rossi having a slim lead in some and Murray up by 6 to 8 points in others.

Murray, who ranks fourth in the Senate Democratic leadership and is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is seeking a fourth term. Though she’s had strong challengers in the past, this is by far her toughest race. Rossi, a former state legislator and a businessman, has run twice unsuccessfully for governor.

Rossi has had strong support from the GOP establishment in Washington, D.C., which was instrumental in convincing him to run. As opposed to some Democratic candidates elsewhere, Murray remains an outspoken supporter of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus measure, health care overhaul and Wall Street re-regulation.

Among all registered voters, Murray held a larger lead, 47-42 percent, but Miringoff said that likely voters indicated they’d almost certainly vote and that they reflected a more accurate picture of the race.

If Washington’s race is as close as the poll shows, the outcome could take days or weeks to determine. Rossi lost his first race for governor by 133 votes. It took 58 days to determine a winner, and then a court case challenging the outcome stretched into early June of the following year.

Washington has a history of close races. Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell won her first race for the Senate by 2,229 votes in another contest that took weeks to resolve.

“It does remind you of Florida in 2000 if it happens,” Miringoff said of the presidential campaign between Al Gore and George W. Bush, which ultimately was resolved by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

Forty-seven percent of Washington state registered voters surveyed said they are independents, 32 percent Democrats and 21 percent Republicans.

Tuesday’s poll found Democrats lined up overwhelmingly behind Murray, Republicans overwhelmingly behind Rossi and the crucial block of independent voters breaking for Rossi by 57-36 percent.

There was a major gender gap. Women supported Murray 55-41 percent, while men supported Rossi 53-41 percent.

Forty-nine percent of likely voters have favorable impressions of Murray and 44 percent unfavorable views, the poll found. Forty-six percent of voters have favorable impressions of Rossi and 46 percent unfavorable ones.

Murray had a 17-point lead over Rossi in King County, which is vital for Democrats who are running statewide. Rossi was running strong, 59-35 percent, in conservative eastern Washington. The two were in a virtual tie in the greater Puget Sound region, and Rossi held a narrow lead on the Olympic Peninsula and in southwest Washington.

President Barack Obama is due to visit Seattle Wednesday and Thursday to campaign for Murray. Voter support for Obama has grown tepid in the state, though not as cool as in other states. He won Washington state by more than 17 points in 2008. The poll found that 48 percent of likely Washington voters approve of the job the president is doing and 46 percent disapprove.

On the economy, 46 percent said they thought that the worst had yet to come, and 42 percent said the worst was behind the country. About two-thirds of Murray’s supporters said we’d turned the corner, while two-thirds of Rossi voters remain pessimistic about the economy.

“In many ways their candidacies are mirror images,” Miringoff said.

Washington’s likely voters are skeptical about the tea party. Only 32 percent support or strongly support it, less than many other states with close Senate races, including Pennsylvania, Colorado and Wisconsin.

“That could account for why Murray is hanging in there, while Democrats in these other states aren’t doing too well,” Miringoff said.

This survey of 834 Washington state registered voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday. Registered voters were interviewed by telephone in proportion to the voter turnout in statewide elections in each county. Telephone numbers were selected based on a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the state. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. In an effort to increase coverage, this land-line sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of cell phone numbers. The land-line and cell phone samples then were combined. Results are statistically significant within 3.5 percentage points. There are 589 likely voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within 4.0 percentage points. The error margin increases for cross-tabulations.

Leave a comment Comments → 17
  1. Whatever1214 says:

    Polls are wonderful, but what are they doing calling cell phones to conduct their poll?

    Keep off my phone if you want my vote.

  2. A virtual tie will result in a win for dim Patty once King County gets involved in recounting, finding, making, producing, more votes for the Democrat.

    If Rossi wins it will be because he got so many more votes that even the King County elections department cannot deliver enough additional votes to overcome the count for Rossi.

  3. pen_mightier_than_sword says:

    A vote for Rossi is a vote to crush unions, slash the minimum wage, slash taxes for the very rich, eliminate employment benefits for hourly workers and layoff tens of thousands of government workers.

    Rossi and the Tea Party want the USA to look like Mexico, India or China where wages are very low, tens of thousands of children live and eat in landfills and the top 1% own 95%.–But hey, taxes are low–so it’s worth it, right?

  4. Dont_treadonme says:

    Sword you nailed it.. Couldn’t of said it better myself.. Why do government employee’s need a union? If there so grateful for the gov why the heck do they need a union to pilfer more private sector money. God help us if the dumbest senator on the planet is re-elected. Only the morons of Washington State are capable of such stupidity.

  5. I just got ANOTHER call from McGuire Research Services at 9:31 pm! I keep telling them not to call me and they keep calling back. Now they woke up my kids.

    Does anybody know who I can complain to about late-night harassment? Aren’t there rules about when they can call?

  6. the3rdpigshouse says:

    The Washington electorate is one of the more ignorant and anti-American in the country! Wake up folks – Murray and Cantwell support open borders & no action against illegal immigrants, they support all of “OH-Bummer’s” socialist agenda for America, they support openly gay members in our military – wake up folks – these are two leftist anti-American dullards who must be removed from government!!!

  7. Patty Murray said that before she was a senator, the most she was paid was $22,000 a year. Her former employers obviously ovepaid her.

  8. ratujack says:

    I was looking at the fastest growing areas in the country and Nevada,Arizona Texas were all growing because they attracked good companies to come into their area. What has Murray done to attrack good companies here in Washington? NOTHING in fact they are leaving. Vote ROSSI

  9. ratujack says:


  10. darin3867 says:

    I hope for the sake of America that the people of Washington will do their part and put an end to Obamas agenda.. Please people, vote for anybody but a democrat.

  11. dump dumb patty

  12. newshound100 says:

    Go Dino .If Patty wins what an embarassment

  13. Proconsul8 says:

    Just what will make Washington look good – another by-a-nose win by Rossi, followed by recounts, discovery of dead or felonious voters, followed by “discovery” of missing votes, followed by litigation funded by both sides. You can stop this by giving Rossi a chance, finally, to do what he has said he’ll do. If, in 6 years, he hasn’t, well, we can always return to being the stronghold of the dhimmis and belly up to the welfare trough.

  14. randydutton says:

    Taxpayer funded subsidies for wind turbines may help destroy American industry. Large wind turbines require about 4000 pounds of rare earth elements (REE) which also are critical for most manufactured products including Boeing aircraft. China has a 95% monopoly of REEs. Congress, under the leadership of Murray, Dicks, Pelosi, Reid, and others, has created a false demand for these REEs. Congress should put a moratorium on promoting expensive ‘green’ technologies that adversely affect the supply of rare earth elements needed for more important products.
    Read the disaster that is unfolding in the NYT article China Said to Widen Its Embargo of Minerals http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/business/global/20rare.html?_r=1.
    Only when we put leaders with common sense such as Rossi in Congress will America have a chance to survive. But as long as they kowtow to China, we will become more dependent to them.

    And why isn’t this FRONT PAGE NEWS across America? This can be worse than if OPEC stopped shipping oil.

  15. mmrussell67 says:

    News Flash: “Sen. Murray’s Vote for ObamaCare Forces Major Spike in Health Costs at Boeing…” Boeing announced that the new health care law Patty Murray helped write will impact some 90,000 nonunion workers who are being asked to pay SIGNIFICANTLY more now for their coverage. Her vote did it to us, nice move Patty (former senator) Murray…

  16. UnbiasedReporter says:

    “the outcome could take days or weeks to determine”

    Translated……how many recounts are conducted in King County till they “find” enough votes for Murray to win. Is it true that Ron Sims in being brought back to supervise the King County vote count?

  17. Sure is a big stink in Seattle today, I mean BIG ODOR !!!!

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