KING 5 Poll: Dead heat in race for Washington governor

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 19, 2012 at 4:58 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 19 at 5:22 PM

A new KING 5 poll finds the race to be Washington's next governor couldn't be closer.

In a survey of 630 registered voters statewide, 42 percent said if the election were held today, they would vote for Republican Rob McKenna, while 41 percent said they would choose Democrat Jay Inslee. Sixteen percent of respondents were undecided. 

Other key results:

--Depth of support: McKenna's numbers are down from KING 5's polling several months ago, but the depth of his support is still stronger than Inslee's.  The survey found 72 percent of McKenna's supporters describe themselves as enthusiastic vs. 58 percent of Inslee's.

--Health care reform: The is the first KING 5 poll since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the national health care reform law found little fallout from McKenna's decision to join other states in challenging the constitutionality of the law. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said McKenna's stance makes them more likely to support him this fall, while 38 percent said it would have the opposite effect. Nineteen percent  said the issue would make no difference in determining their vote.

--Gender gap: McKenna does better among men (47 percent to 36 percent for Inslee), while Inslee does better among women (47 percent to 38 percent for McKenna).

--Strong suits:  Washington voters believe McKenna would do a better job managing the state budget (43 percent vs. 32 percent for Inslee).  But it's now a draw on education, with 34 percent saying McKenna would be stronger, compared with 35 percent who believe Inslee would be stronger on education.

--Top of the ticket: A KING 5 poll conducted in May showed President Obama leading Republican Mitt Romney in Washington state by 14 points.  But our July numbers show that lead is down slightly, with Obama leading 46 percent to 37 percent.

Other statewide races:

The contest to replace McKenna as Washington attorney general is also close. If next month's primary produces a match between Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson, each would get 37 percent of the vote, with 26 percent still undecided.

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Maria Cantwell has an 11-point lead over her likely challenger, GOP state Sen. Michael Baumbartner. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they plan to vote for Cantwell, with 40 percent picking Baumgartner and just 9 percent undecided.

SurveyUSA conducted the poll with both landlines and cell phones.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

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