New polling data show Democrat Chris Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi in a virtual dead heat in the Washington gubernatorial race.
The numbers add fuel to the notion that the rematch between Gregoire and Rossi will be another nail biter, just as it was four years ago when it took three recounts to determine Gregoire the winner by a margin of 129 votes.
The Washington Poll, a nonpartisan research project at the University of Washington, shows Gregoire ahead of Rossi by 50 percent to 48 percent, suggesting that Rossi has narrowed the gap.
An earlier wave of numbers released Monday, Oct. 27, by the Washington Poll showed Gregoire leading Rossi by 6 points, 51 percent to 45 percent. Since then, the percentage of "undecideds" has fallen from 4 percent to 2 percent, the poll shows.
The Monday data were based on a poll of 600 registered voters statewide, conducted Oct. 18-26, with a margin of error of 4 percent. The numbers released today were based on a poll of 387 registered voters statewide, conducted Oct. 27-31, with a margin of error of 5 percent.
UW political science professor Matt Barreto says the race's tightening is a natural occurrence in the final days. "I think as the race sprints to the finish, voters are getting more invested, and this appears to be stronger among Rossi supporters who feel cheated from 2004 and have a stronger desire to win," he told Crosscut. "Gregoire is still benefitting from Obama, and in the end, if she wins, it will be due to the energy behind Obama."
The newly released survey shows Democrat Barack Obama maintaining a significant lead over Republican John McCain in the presidential race, 51 percent to 39 percent. In the first wave, Obama held a larger margin, 55 percent to 34 percent. Between the polls, the percentage of undecideds dropped 1 point, from 6 percent to 5 percent, and those favoring "someone else/other" held steady at 5 percent.
The survey was administered by phone by Pacific Market Research in Renton, based on a randomly selected list of phone numbers using a list of registered voters.