Fresh off of winning the state’s non-partisan primary on Tuesday, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi remain in a close race in Washington’s U.S. Senate election.
The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Murray picking up 48% support, while Dino Rossi earns 44% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer a different candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
The race between Murray, who has served in the Senate since 1993, and Rossi has remained very close since tracking of the race began in January. In late July, Murray was barely ahead of Rossi 49% to 47%. Rossi, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for governor, held a 48% to 45% edge two weeks earlier, and the two were tied in June. Since January, support for Murray has ranged from 45% to 49%. Support for Rossi also has fallen in a narrow 46% to 49% range.
The race is still classified as Leans Democratic in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power summary. This ranking is based partly on the benefits of incumbency that will help Murray and on the fact that President Obama won the state in convincing fashion two years ago.
When leaners are included in the new totals, Murray attracts 50% of the vote, while Rossi picks up 46%. This is the first Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 survey in Washington to include leaners. Leaners are those who initially indicate no preference for either of the candidates but answer a follow-up question and say they are leaning towards a particular candidate.
Early in any campaign, the numbers without leaners are generally more significant. Later in a campaign, the numbers with leaners matter more. After Labor Day, Rasmussen Reports will report the numbers with leaners as the primary indicators of the campaign.
A high percentage of supporters for both candidates are already certain how they will vote in November.
While both candidates earn strong support from voters in their respective parties, voters not affiliated with either major party are evenly divided between the candidates.
The survey of 750 Likely Voters in Washington was conducted on August 18, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.