Republican John Koster holds a narrow lead over Democrat Suzan DelBene in the race for Washington's 1st congressional district, a new KING 5 poll finds.
The poll conducted for KING 5 by SurveyUSA found that Koster leads DelBene 46 percent to 42 percent, just inside the survey's margin of error. Men favored Koster by a 49 percent to 40 percent margin, and the two candidates were effectively tied among women -- 44 percent for DelBene and 43 percent for Koster.
On issues, voters favored Koster's ability to handle issues related to the economy and rural areas. Forty-three percent of respondents said Koster better reflected their views on economic issues, compared with 37 percent who favored DelBene. Asked which candidate would do a better job of representing the views of rural voters, 44 percent chose Koster compared with 25 percent who chose DelBene.
Koster had slight leads on social issues (41 percent of respondents favoring him compared with 40 percent for DelBene) and on which candidate identifies better with the concerns of ordinary people (40 percent for Koster, 39 percent for DelBene).
DelBene, a former Microsoft employee, trailed Koster on which candidate could better represent the high-tech industry -- 36 percent picked Koster compared with 33 percent for DelBene.
The economy was the top issue for respondents -- 59 percent said it was the most important issue to them in this year's election. No other issue broke 20 percent; the closest was 17 percent who said social issues were most important.
The redrawn 1st was carved during the redistricting process to be a swing district where neither party boasts a commanding lead in voter registration. It stretches from eastern King County areas such as the eastside suburbs of Medina, Kirkland and Redmond to the Canadian border.
Both candidates have waged past campaigns for Congress. Koster is a Snohomish County Councilman and former state Representative who ran twice (2000 and 2010) against Rick Larsen for the 2nd District seat. DelBene was Washington Department of Revenue director in 2011 and ran against Dave Reichert for the 8th District in 2010.
The race for president in the 1st District is tied, with Mitt Romney and Barack Obama both boasting 47 percent support. Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) holds a 50 percent to 44 percent over former congressman Jay Inslee (D).
The telephone survey of 593 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 13 and 15. The margin of error for most questions was plus or minus 4.1 percent.