Democrat Jay Inslee continues to lead Republican Rob McKenna in the race to be Washington's next governor, according to the latest KING 5 poll.

Inslee leads McKenna 49 percent to 44 percent. The finding is just outside the poll's margin of error (+/- 4.4 percent), meaning the race effectively remains a dead heat with just 8 weeks to go until ballot counting begins. Just 7 percent of respondents said they were undecided on which candidate to support.

Inslee's lead is roughly the same he had the last KING 5 survey in early August.

Women favor Inslee over McKenna by a big margin (53 percent to 39 percent), while men narrowly favor McKenna (48 percent to 45 percent).

No surprise: The poll found that Inslee enjoys the strongest support in Metropolitan Seattle (King, Pierce and Snohomish counties) where 50 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for him compared to just 41 for McKenna. The rest of Western Washington also favors Inslee -- 52 to 43 percent.

McKenna's strength is in Eastern Washington, where 49 percent said they support him over 43 percent for Inslee

Three-quarters of those polled said they were enthusiastic about their potential vote.

Inslee had a slightly higher favorable rating at 41 percent than McKenna at 40 percent.

More respondents said they believed Inslee was more likeable, was closer to sharing their views on social issues (48 percent compared to 41 percent for McKenna) and is much stronger on environmental issues (49 percent to 24 percent).

For McKenna, more respondents believed he is smarter, would be better on the economy (44 percent compared to 40 percent for Inslee) and would bring more change to Olympia (46 percent to 34 percent).

On the issue of education, the candidates are nearly tied -- with McKenna picked by 39 percent of responsdents as the candidate who would be stronger on education, compared to 38 percent who picked Inslee.

Inslee wins the likeability contest, with 43 percent of respondents picking him over 30 percent for McKenna. But McKenna is rated as smarter -- 34 percent compared to 31 percent who picked Inslee.

The survey of 524 likely Washington voters was conducted Sept. 7 to 9 for KING 5 by SurveyUSA.

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