If there has any momentum at all in the US Senate race, it has been with Clint Didier, the conservative Republican challenger to Dino Rossi.
In the June 15 Elway Poll, Sen. Patty Murray led Rossi by 12 points, which is exactly the spread in yesterday'ês primary vote. (The June poll had Murray leading, 43-31, and the August results are 46-34.) Didier had 5 percent and 17 percent were undecided in that June survey. Over the past two months, Murray and Rossi each picked up 3 points, while Didier gained 7 points, picking up the most from the undecideds.
Although it is tempting to read omens into the primary results, and Lord knows everyone will be spinning them, the primary election is not a reliable predictor of the general election. The main reason is that the two electorates are different. Primary voters tend to be older, more established (homeowners, parents), and more partisan than people who vote only in a general election.
As of this writing, voter turnout for the primary was only 27 percent, though it will end up a little higher. Turnout in the general is likely to be at least twice that. The doubling of the size of the electorate, and the different characteristics of the voters who skipped the primary but who will vote in the general, renders primary results unreliable as an indicator of the general election.