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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 1, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Final Washington Poll: Inslee leads narrowly, all initiatives looking good

Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna are still locked in a tight race for governor just days before the election, according to the last Washington Poll of the season.

Inslee, a Democrat, led Republican Mckenna 48.7 percent to 45.6 percent among likely voters, a slight improvement for him from his 1-point lead in the poll’s mid-October sampling. Other recent polling has shown the race about the same or closer.

Inslee led McKenna 54 percent to 42 percent in Puget Sound, but McKenna led Inslee 53 percent to 33 percent among all independent voters.

All four statewide initiatives also appear to be popular with voters: Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage, had support from 57.9 percent of likely voters, while Initiative 502 (pot legalization) and 1240 (allowing charter schools) each had about 55 percent support. In both cases, those were increases in support from the mid-October Washington Poll.

Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1185, which would require a two-thirds majority for lawmakers to pass taxes, led 52 percent to 37 percent among likely voters.

Democrat Bob Ferguson led Republican Reagan Dunn 45 to 34 percent in the attorney general’s race, but 21 percent of voters are undecided, according to the poll.

Both President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell still led comfortably, according to the poll: Obama by 21 points, Cantwell by 28 points. Obama’s lead was a big improvement for him from the mid-October sampling. At that time, the president led by nine points.

The new poll, conducted by KCTS 9 and the University of Washington, included live calls to 722 registered voters, including 632 likely voters, between Oct. 18 and 31. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent among registered voters and 3.9 percent among likely voters, according to pollster Matt Barreto, a University of Washington political-science professor.

The last Washington Poll was released Oct. 18 after conducting interviews during the earlier part of the month.

The final Washington Poll of the election has had a relatively good reputation recently for predicting the outcome of the race.

In 2008, it showed Gov. Chris Gregoire leading Republican Dino Rossi 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters; she won 53 percent to 47 percent.

In 2010, it showed U.S. Sen. Patty Murray leading Rossi by the same margin, 51 percent to 45 percent. She won 52 percent to 48 percent.

Comments | More in Governor | Topics: Barack Obama, Bob Ferguson, charter schools

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