A KING 5/SurveyUSA poll of the Washington State Governor’s race released Thursday shows Republican Rob McKenna in a 10-point lead over Democratic congressman Jay Inslee, a lead that includes a healthy advantage in the central Puget Sound.
Of the 572 registered voters statewide surveyed, 49 percent said they would vote for McKenna, 39 percent for Inslee and 12 percent remain undecided.
These recent numbers reflect a shift from the previous SurveyUSA poll taken in mid-January in which McKenna and Inslee were separated by only three percentage points—46 percent to 43 percent, respectively—a statistical dead heat.
The KING 5/SurveyUSA poll underscores the findings of an Elway Research poll released Monday that reported McKenna in a 9-point lead, a trend that may intensify a drumbeat from within Inslee’s party for him to give the race his full-time attention. Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner wrote Tuesday:
Inslee’s continuing lag in the early polls has been worrying Democrats, who united behind the Bainbridge Island Congressman early, stifling any notion of a primary challenge.
Some Democratic operatives have been quietly agitating for Inslee to quit Congress and concentrate on campaigning full-time. Inslee has said he has no plans to do so.
One sign that the campaign schedule is stretching Inslee too thin has been a notable record of missed votes in Congress that not gone unnoticed by Inslee’s opponents. When asked by Everett Herald political writer Jerry Cornfield about his recent spotty congressional attendance, Inslee’s response belied an arrogance many observers of politics have come to expect:
Inslee said his voting record exceeds 98 percent and brushed aside the partisans’ attacks.
“I think the union will survive,” he said.