Every time PPP has polled the Washington Senate race this year it’s found the race to be within 2 or 3 points and our final poll there is no exception. But there is one twist- for the first time we find Republican Dino Rossi leading Democrat Patty Murray, by a 50-48 margin.
Neither candidate has much in the way of support across party lines- Rossi’s winning 93% of Republicans and Murray’s winning 91% of Democrats. That means independents, as they are in so many races across the country, are making the difference for the GOP here. Rossi leads Murray with them by a 54-42 margin.
The most worrisome number for Murray within the poll, beyond her small overall disadvantage, is that among voters who say they’ve already returned their ballots Rossi’s advantage is wider at 52-47. Murray’s ability to keep the race close is predicated on the 24% of respondents who have not yet done so returning their ballots. That group supports her by a 51-45 margin.
Washington has one of the more severe enthusiasm gaps in the country. Barack Obama won the state by 17 points in 2008 but those planning to vote this year supported him by only a 7 point margin. If Democrats in the state vote at a higher rate than response to our poll suggested over the weekend that would likely be enough to put Murray over the top.
PPP surveyed 2,055 likely Washington voters from October 29th to 31st. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.2%.