Democrat Christine Gregoire leads Republican Dino Rossi by 6 points — 51 percent to 45 percent — with 4 percent still undecided in the Washington gubernatorial race, according to a new survey.
The newly released numbers from the Washington Poll also show Democratic Sen. Barack Obama leading Republican Sen. John McCain by a larger margin — 55 percent to 34 percent — with 5 percent for other candidates and 6 percent undecided.
"The new data suggest that Gregoire is benefiting tremendously from Obama's popularity in Washington," said University of Washington political science professor Matt A. Barreto, director of the Washington Poll.
Barreto said Gregoire appears to be benefitting from her decision back in February to endorse Obama. But he cautioned there's still more than a week to go before Election Day, and that Rossi has run "a very effective campaign, so we could still see the race tighten down the stretch."
Conducted Oct. 18-26, the poll interviewed 600 registered voters statewide, with a margin of error of 4.0 percent.
Gregoire and Rossi are virtually tied among independents, whom Barreto described as the most important political category in Washington state, with 48 percent for Gregoire to 47 percent for Rossi. In metro Puget Sound, Gregoire is favored 57 percent to 40 percent, while in Eastern Washington Rossi is favored 61 percent to 34 percent.
The Washington Poll will release a second poll on Nov. 1, based on a statewide poll of 400 registered voters from Oct. 27-Nov. 1, to determine if support levels are holding steady, or any changes are evident in the final week.
The poll also shows Initiative 1000, the "Death with Dignity" measure, leading 56 percent to 38 percent, with 6 percent undecided. It shows Sound Transit Proposition 1, the massive public transit measure that would expand light rail, leading 50 percent to 43 percent, although that poll has a margin of error 6.7 percent.
The Washington Poll is a non-partisan, academic research project at the University of Washington. The survey was administered by phone by Pacific Market Research in Renton, Wash., based on a randomly selected list of phone numbers using a list of registered voters.