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SEATTLE - With 15 candidates on the primary ballot for U.S. Senator from Washington state, a new KING 5 News poll finds U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Republican challenger Dino Rossi ahead of the pack.

The exclusive SurveyUSA poll of 520 likely Washington state voters finds Murray and Rossi in a tight race.

The poll finds Murray at 37 percent going into the August primary and Rossi with 33 percent, within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of sampling error.

In the poll, 19 percent said they were undecided, five percent supported Republican Clint Didier and three percent supported Republican Paul Akers.

It almost doesn't matter whether Murray is a couple points ahead or a couple points behind or she's right in there with Rossi, said Jay Leve, SurveyUSA editor. The two of them functionally are just so far ahead of everyone else that they should be perceived, at least in our reading of the data, as roughly even and together, likely to advance.

For Murray, there is some encouraging news in the impressions voters held about her. In the poll, 38 percent of likely voters said their impression of Murray was favorable; 34 percent said unfavorable. While that it not a huge advantage, Leve points out Murray still appears to be in the favorable column, compared to other politicians such as Governor Chris Gregoire, whose unfavorable rating was 50 percent in the same poll.

Anytime you're a politician and your favorables are positive in this environment, that's a good sign, Leve said.

Meanwhile, a good sign for Republicans is voter frustration with the status quo. The poll asked voters how enthusiastic they are about voting this year compared to last year. Among Republicans in our state, 49 percent are more enthusiastic this year. By comparison, the majority of Democrats, nearly 60 percent, say they are no more or less enthusiastic than usual.

I looked at those results and I said here are the Republicans saying, 'What time do those polls open, when do I get my ballot, I'm ready to go,' Leve said.

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