WA-08: DelBene Within 3

Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos (10/9-10/10, likely voters, no trendlines):

Suzan DelBene (D): 46

Dave Reichert (R-inc): 49

Undecided: 5

(MoE: ±3%)

Despite this race flying almost completely under the radar until a few weeks ago — when a SurveyUSA poll found a 7-point gap and then a Suzan DelBene internal found a 4-point race — the race in the 8th is looking surprisingly competitive all of a sudden. That’s probably thanks to a decidedly lackluster performance from Dave Reichert this year (as seen by the unexpected loss of support from his usual best friends at the Seattle Times) as well as DelBene marshaling her resources for a major ad pounding at the end. PPP finds an even closer race now, with DelBene down by only 3, seemingly thanks to a reduction in the amount of ticket-splitting that has traditionally helped Reichert (as DelBene is winning Obama voters 80-15). (And if you’re wondering, there’s no SurveyUSA-style generational weirdness here; DelBene wins 62-19 among the 18-34 set.)

There’s one disconcerting number in the crosstabs, and that’s that within the district, Patty Murray and Dino Rossi are tied 49-49. Since this district is basically the bellwether for the state (Obama won the state 57-41, and won the 8th 57-42), that extrapolates out to a more or less tied race statewide. On the one hand, that’s bad news, as it would seem to confirm that general sense that Murray has lost some ground from her seeming spike last month. But on the other hand, that’s good news, as it confirms that this isn’t an overly Dem-friendly sample, and if Murray improves a few points and brings some more DelBene voters along with her, that can move DelBene even closer to 50%.

UPDATE: H/t to Minnesota Mike in comments, who points out (via the truly helpful Washington SoS website) that Rossi won 51-48 in the 8th in the 2008 gubernatorial race (which Chris Gregoire won 53-47), and by 54-44 in the 2004 gubernatorial race (which Gregoire won 48.87-48.87). That may actually be a better benchmark than Obama numbers, come to think of it — as, very importantly, Rossi is from the 8th, as he used to represent the Issaquah-based 5th LD in the state Senate. So if he’s tied in his own neighborhood, he’s probably lagging the 50% mark by a bit statewide.

51 thoughts on “WA-08: DelBene Within 3”

  1. Even if the night is a disaster, there will be a smile on my face if faux-moderate Reichert is sent packing.

    Go Delbene! I may consider giving some money.

  2. I just posted this in the open thread but will do it again here, Rossi won the 8th district 51-49 in 2008 and 54-44 in 2004. If you believe this poll Rossi is under preforming what he needs to win.

  3. an absolutely screwy year politically, so I wouldn’t surprised to see some startling, unexpected results. And while I think Team Blue will bear the brunt, it’s possible we might see a shocking upset or two on the other side, especially against an incumbent.

  4. He blew (blew off?) an interview with a sympathetic newspaper and lost the Seattle Times endorsement. Reichert has cancelled more appearances iin the district than he has attended. His ads have just gone up while DelBene has been on the air for weeks.

    This is Rossi’s home district and he needs to be over 53% here. If he is under 50%, he chances of winning the state are considerably diminished.

    It would be wonderful to see DelBene send Reichert packing. I hope the Elway and Washington polls due out later this week shed more light on this key race.

  5. They haven’t endorsed yet for the General, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason Reichert wasn’t as available and didn’t meet with them had to do with his health issues this summer.  It puts the paper in a difficult position, if he was recovering at the time (but didn’t tell them). If he now comes forward with that information, will it give them an “out” to endorse him for the general if he doesn’t blow them off again?  DelBene doesn’t want to “go there” and hopefully all indications are that Reichert has recovered, but doesn’t it make sense that the stuff he was going through in the spring and summer led to his unavailability?

  6. internals and SUSA. Sadly I think this will be the heartbreaker of the cycle. We lose by a few hundred votes or at least close. Just my hunch. Hopefully I’m wrong. Even if we lose this year there is always 2012 when Obama will be on the ticket and what will this district look like then?  

  7. In 2004, Murray won by 7 points in CD8, but 12 points statewide. Kerry won by 3 points in CD8, but 7 points statewide. Rossi won by 10 points in CD8, but it was basically a tie statewide.

    In 2006, Cantwell won by 11 points in CD8, but 17 points statewide.

    In 2008, Obama won by 15 points in CD8, but 17 points statewide. Rossi won by 2 in CD8, but Gregoire won by 6 statewide.

    Averaging all of this together, CD8 is about 6 points more conservative than the state. Or, to put it another way, CD8 has NEVER been less than 2 points more conservative than the rest of the state in the last 6 years. This seems to be a good result to Patty Murray.

  8. But Secy. Locke used to be Washington’s governor, and National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske was the rather popular Seattle police chief for a number of years. They might be unusual but effective surrogates in that state.

  9. Considering she trailed Reichert 47%-27% in the primary, and Democrats collectively got about 40%. I’ve seen the same ad hitting Reichert many times, perhaps even more often than the Murray/Rossi ads. Maybe she can get a money infusion so that that ad doesn’t get stale (though I’m not sure of the extent of her ability to self-fund).

  10. SUSA collates 18-34 yo  while PPP uses 18-29. That 5 year difference may help explain some of the differences people are seeing in these young adult subgroups.  

  11. and alerting us that there’s really a viable race here.

    I’d never have suspected, especially after our candidate wound up being close to a carbon copy of our losing candidate from ’06 & ’08.

    (Hopefully, Burner can get some vicarious satisfaction if Reichert loses to DelBene).

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