Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna are tied with 38 percent support in a new Washington state SEIU/AFSCME-funded gubernatorial race poll conducted by Grove Insights.
The poll showed progress for Inslee, who had lagged the attorney general by 9 points in an Elway poll conducted last month. The Elway poll surveyed all registered voters, and this Democratic poll surveyed likely voters.
Twenty percent of voters strongly supported Inslee, with 11 percent supporting the congressman not strongly and another 7 percent leaning his way. Twenty-four percent expressed strong support for McKenna, with 8 percent support supporting him not strongly and 6 percent of respondents leaning toward his candidacy. Twenty-five of those surveyed were undecided.
Both candidates were viewed favorably by one third of people surveyed. Unfavorables were nearly identical, with 20 percent viewing McKenna unfavorably and 21 percent with an unfavorable impression of Inslee.
While any Republican statewide candidate will have a tough time in blue Washington in a presidential election year, McKenna is considered the GOP's best hope to take back the governor's mansion since the 1980s. He has played up his moderate credentials and kept a heavy focus on education during the campaign.
The poll of 500 likely voters was conducted two weeks ago -- from Feb. 21-23. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points.