Shift toward Murray seems confirmed

Not only is she leading, but she has also passed 50 percent, the key threshold of support for an incumbent.

Not only is she leading, but she has also passed 50 percent, the key threshold of support for an incumbent.

Rasmussen has become the fourth pollster showing a definite shift in the Senate race with a new poll giving Sen. Patty Murray a 6-point lead, 51 percent to 46 percent.

There is no doubt now, something dramatic has happened in this race. Three weeks ago two polls showed Dino Rossi with a clear lead, now Murray is not only ahead, she is just over 50 percent, a key threshold for an incumbent.

Has something happened to restore the Democrats’ advantage on the West Coast? Doesn’t look like it. A SurveyUSA poll yesterday continued to show Jaime Herrera with a big lead in the 3rd Congressional District, and the Republican candidates continue to lead the governor’s races in Oregon and California.

I am left to conclude that something specific has happened in the Rossi-Murray race, and the most likely explanation lies in the TV ads, the main driving factor in any major statewide race.

The financial reform bill is the one popular thing the Democrats have passed during the Obama administration, supported by 61 percent of Americans according to a recent Gallup poll.

For several weeks the Murray campaign has run ads attacking Rossi for opposing that bill, painting him as the candidate of Wall Street. The Rossi campaign didn’t respond, running positive ads instead. On the airwaves at least, Murray has been on the offense, and it seems to be working.

Today (Sept. 16)the Rossi campaign has launched a much tougher new ad.

Voters say they hate negative ads, but all of us in politics know the truth: Attack ads move numbers, especially when the other side doesn’t respond. The onus now is on the Rossi campaign to regain the initiative and put Sen. Murray on the defensive. Can they do it?


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About the Authors & Contributors

Chris Vance

Chris Vance

Chris Vance, a former Republican party chairman, is a senior fellow at the Niskanen Center.