UW Today

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October 27, 2008

New state poll shows Gregoire ahead of Rossi and Obama ahead of McCain



New data from the Washington Poll shows Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, ahead of Republican candidate Dino Rossi by 6 percentage points: 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent still undecided.

Gregoire’s efforts may be helped by those of presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, who leads Republican Sen. John McCain by an even larger margin than Gregoire over Rossi, said Matt A. Barreto, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington and director of the Washington Poll. According to the poll, Obama leads McCain in Washington State 55 percent to 34 percent with 5 percent for other candidates and 6 percent undecided.


Interviewers at Pacific Market Research in Renton, Wash., telephoned 600 registered voters Oct. 18-26. The resultant sample primarily consists of land-line users; however, it assumes some cell phone-only respondents, as Pacific Market used numbers listed on voter registrations. The sample was structured according to age, gender and county demographics in Washington. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percentage points.


A Washington Poll almost a year ago showed Gregoire ahead of Rossi by about the same number of percentage points as those in the most recent poll. In November 2007, she led Rossi 47 percent to 42 percent.

“Still,” said Barreto, “we need to remember that there is more than a week left in this election, and Dino Rossi has run a very effective campaign, so we could still see the race tighten down the stretch.”

Gregoire and Rossi are almost tied among independents, the most important political category in Washington State because they constitute the largest group and the swing vote, Barreto said. The latest poll showed 48 percent of self-identified independent voters for Gregoire compared with 47 percent for Rossi. Among overall voters in the Puget Sound region, Gregoire is favored 57 percent to 40 percent, while in eastern Washington, Rossi is favored 61 percent to 34 percent.

In 2004, Democrat John Kerry defeated Republican George W. Bush by 7 percentage points in Washington State, 53 percent to 46 percent, while the gubernatorial election resulted in a virtual tie between Gregoire and Rossi. In 2008, Gregoire still under performs the Democratic advantage for President, just as she did in 2004. However, Obama appears to have a larger advantage in 2008 than did Kerry in 2004.

The Washington Poll has provided accurate data about past political races. In 2006, the poll predicted Maria Cantwell would defeat Mike McGavick by double digits, and she ultimately won by 17 points. In 2007, the poll projected I-960 would pass by only 1 percentage point, and it ultimately passed 51 percent to 49 percent. Also, the Washington Poll has accurately predicted the last 10 major statewide candidate elections and initiatives in Washington State.

The Washington Poll will release another survey November 1, based on a statewide survey of voters Oct. 27 – Nov 1. Results will be posted at: www.washingtonpoll.org .


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For more information, contact Barreto at (206) 616-3584 or mbarreto@washington.edu .