A new 1st Congressional District poll, by the consultant firm Strategies 360, shows the race tightening as ballots are being mailed this week, with Democrats Darcy Burner and Suzan DelBene virtually tied.
Republican Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, who also ran for Congress in 2010, should easily advance past the Aug. 7 primary, with 36 percent of voters in the poll. Despite being a name brand of the Snohomish County GOP since 1994, 35 percent of voters said they recognize him.
Scant polling in the redrawn 1st District has generally shown Burner, a progressive activist who ran for Congress in 2006 and 2008, leading, including a double-digit lead over four Democratic rivals in a June 1 poll by Survey USA. But this poll — phone interviews of 500 likely voters on July 15-17 — shows Burner with 12 percent and DelBene at 11.
DelBene, who has self-financed her campaign by $1 million, has saturated TV with ads on the theme of economic fairness. The spending seems to have given DelBene momentum. Burner has said she doesn’t plan to air TV ads, but just sent a thick magazine-style flier this week.
State Sen. Steve Hobbs is holding at 7 percent. The big loser in this poll appears to be Laura Ruderman, whose mother made news and headaches for her by funding a PAC to attack DelBene. She sank from the June poll and is now at 3 percent.
Here are the toplines and crosstabs. On quick read, a couple of interesting items: Burner has more name recognition than Koster among voters, but also has the highest unfavorable ratings. Also, the poll asked voters for positive-negative views of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In a district designed to be a 50-50 swing district, Obama had 49 percent favorable, 46 unfavorable; Romney had 46-46.
The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent, with 95 percent confidence level. Strategies 360, a Democratic-leaning consultant shop, did the poll independently, NOT hired by any campaign.