The latest survey by Seattle pollster Stuart Elway shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee leading his GOP challenger Rob McKenna by 7 points – 43 to 36 percent.
The poll, which surveyed 405 registered voters this month, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
It represents a sharp turn from earlier polls, which has raised questions about whether this survey is an outlier.
An Elway poll released last month showed the two neck and neck with 42 percent of voters favoring McKenna and 40 percent picking Inslee. And a SurveyUSA/KING 5 poll last week showed McKenna with 42 percent of the vote and Inslee with 41 percent.
Earlier in the year, both the Elway and SurveyUSA polls showed McKenna with a significant lead. Back in February, Elway showed McKenna leading Inslee by 9 percentage points. And SurveyUSA that month had McKenna leading by 10 points.
Randy Pepple, McKenna’s campaign manager, considers Elway’s latest poll to be an outlier that doesn’t fit what’s happening. “Especially on the heels of SurveyUSA, which had a poll last week at one (percentage-point difference),” he said.
Elway in a phone interview noted that Inslee has been running television ads, while McKenna starts airing his tomorrow, which could explain some of the difference.
He also acknowledged it could be an outlier poll, but said we won’t know for sure until the next polls come out. Elway also noted that all the polls indicate McKenna losing ground to Inslee.
“I think there’s some kind of trend here. I think it’s volatile,” he said.