One more nudge of the needle in the Democratic direction this week, as something like "Little Mo" seems to be developing. Small things, but they add up:
First is a story in The Seattle Times comparing Gov. Chris Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi on climate change, which gives the governor two good lines of attack. Rossi quibbles about how much climate change is man-made, which betrays an anti-scientific, pro-religious stance that has Bush overtones. Not good in this state. Second is Rossi's claim, which his staff had trouble backing up, that building more highway lanes will reduce pollution (since cars won't be stalled as much). According to the reporting in the story, the studies cited by Rossi staffers say this reduction in carbon emissions is only true if you don't allow more cars on the new lanes. Rossi needs to sound sensible on the environment to appeal to many educated suburban voters. And playing fast and loose with the scientific claims now takes on a Palin echo.
Then comes the latest Stuart Elway poll, seemingly way out of line with other polls and therefore getting attacked and getting more attention. The poll puts Gregoire ahead, 51-39, while most polls show Rossi and Gregoire knotted at 48-48. Maybe overstated, but it helps give Gregoire an air of invincibility. The other figure from Elway puts Obama ahead in the state, 55-36, an indication of the Obama surge coming to local polls and likely to benefit the Democrat (and early Obama endorser).
The last point is the way pundits are battling over the question of the Obama-Rossi voter, explored by my colleague Clark Fredericksen nearby. There clearly will be such voters, hoping to be rid of Bush and Olympia Democrats, and wanting to play a little balance-of-power, hedge-your-vote politics. That the debate is being joined early gives Gregoire advocates a chance to meet it head on and make the case for an Obama-Gregoire alliance. Subtext: federal pork will start rolling in these tough times. Dare I say earmarks?