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    Is Murray really taking a lead over Rossi?

    There's reason to be cautious about a poll showing the incumbent 9 points ahead.

    Regarding the new Elway Poll showing Sen. Patty Murray ahead by 9 percent; too often partisans dismiss polling results that bring bad news, but the Elway poll has produced some odd results over the years.

    In September, 2004, the Elway poll showed Chris Gregoire 11 percent ahead of Dino Rossi, and Murray 20 percent ahead of Nethercutt. This was in sharp contrast to what other polls were showing at the time, and dramatically overstated the vote the two Democrats would receive two months later.

    In 2008, the last two Elway polls showed Gregoire ahead by 16 percent and 12 percent while other polls showed a close race. Gregoire won by 6 percent.

    And earlier this year, Elway showed Murray ahead of Rossi by 17 percent.

    Elway may be right. Maybe the race has shifted dramatically in favor of Sen. Murray. But Elway’s history would counsel caution before jumping to that conclusion.

    Chris Vance is a public affairs consultant who lives in Auburn and an adjunct faculty member in the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs. He was chair of the Republican Party in Washington from 2001-06, a King County Council member from 1994-2001, and a state representative from 1991-93. He can be reached at cvapv@comcast.net.

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