WA-09: Add One More to the Board; SSP Moves to Likely D

SurveyUSA for KING-TV (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):

Adam Smith (D-inc): 49

Dick Muri (R): 46

Undecided: 5

(MoE: ±4.1%)

Now here’s a race that wasn’t on anybody’s mind (except for Real Clear Politics, who consider every race with a sentient Republican to be at least “Likely Dem”): Washington’s 9th district, a D+5 narrow swath of middle-class suburbs reaching from SeaTac Airport in the north to Fort Lewis in the south. Adam Smith has held this uneventfully since 1996, when he picked it up from Randy Tate, who got washed in with the tide in ’94 and washed out with the next normal election.

Nevertheless, I’m not altogether surprised here. The GOP didn’t just run their usual Some Dude here; they dug up a Pierce County Councilor (that’s the state’s second-largest county, where Tacoma is) in the form of Dick Muri. The only reason you haven’t heard anything about this race nationally is because a) it’s D+5, at the outer edge of what’s feasible for a pickup, and b) Muri has raised near-bupkus (currently sitting on $96K in cash, although he may now be getting more of a second look). And then in the Top 2 primary, the cumulative Dem/Green vs. GOP vote, a good predictor of where the general election will wind up, was about 55-45 (with the GOP vote being deeply split between establishmentarian Muri and a teabagger). So, take that 10-point spread that the primary would predict, throw in the 6-or-7 point rightward skew that we’ve been seeing from SurveyUSA versus, well, everybody else in their polling of west coast states (WA-Sen, CA-Sen… need I go on?), and… voila! You have a 3-point Smith lead.

As much as it’s reasonable to expect that Smith will hold on in the high-single-digits (especially since he’s right below the 50% mark), this race should not be ignored, and we’re moving it to “Likely Democratic” (from Safe Democratic).

13 thoughts on “WA-09: Add One More to the Board; SSP Moves to Likely D”

  1. Here’s going to be my final thought on that issue, Im excited for the election so we can see how SUSA pans out because this cycle they have given us many examples in a multitude of areas.

  2. Rockin’ Randy Tate!  I’d forgotten about him.  When Spy magazine asked his favorite musician or band, he couldn’t come up with one despite being the youngest member of the house at the time – what a square!  No surprise that after he lost, he headed up the Christian Coalition or some group like that.  This does seem like it’s on the edge of possible; I guess a big enough wave could sweep Muri in.

  3. The Senate race is in play, so there will be plenty of GOP $ spent here and sooner or later this was going to affect House races. But if the most recent polls are to believed and Murray is pulling ahead, then hopefully this also means Dems like Smith will probably be OK due to Dems turning out for Murray.

    And as I’ve said before, SUSA is crap. I put no stock in this poll, but I can see why WA-09 may be another race to watch.

  4. The SurveyUSA polls in Washington have been so strange this year. I think IRV is less useful in a state so full of early adapters. Once again the cross tabs on this one have found a group of vey young conservative voters. I think young conservatives may be the only voters under 35 hanging on to land lines.

  5. it’s SurveyUSA and they’ve been kind of screwy lately. If it was another pollster (except Zogby, the worst pollster in the universe), I’d believe it.  

  6. I am fairly sure that this is an anomalous result… Smith is relatively popular, to the extent he’s known at all. He makes sure not to pull a Blanche LincolnAlso, Tacoma’s not in this district, only the rural part of Pierce County is. Those of us in King and Thurston Counties (the majority) know nothing of Muri (I’m fairly plugged in and I had not heard of him until recently).

  7. A lot of those Reps. got “scares” in 2008 in that they had to go out and work and won by only 5-10 points instead of their usual 20. A few I can think of are Ken Calvert, Judy Biggert, and Mike Rogers. These people–and many Democrats like Smith–were/are “vulnerable” in the sense that they had credible opposition and could lose if they ran a lazy campaign, but were/are never really in danger of not returning to Congress.

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