A fitting precursor to tonight’s debate, SurveyUSA has a new poll out that shows Sen. Patty Murray (D) neck and neck with Dino Rossi. Among likely voters, 50 percent said they would vote for Murray and 47 percent said they would vote for Rossi. The poll had a margin of error of 4.1 percent. The results are nearly identical to those of a SurveyUSA poll taken three weeks ago. Some key findings:
– Gender continues to be important; men vote for Rossi, women vote for Murray. SurveyUSA shows men more motivated to vote than women in 2010, in Washington state, but also in other geographies across the country.
– Age continues to be important: younger voters (who are harder to contact, and who are less likely to vote) prefer Rossi; older voters (who vote more reliably and who are easier to reach) prefer Murray.
– Independents break for the Republican, as they are breaking in most geographies across the country in 2010.
– Metro Seattle (which, as always, includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties), is moving to Murray. Eastern Washington is moving to Rossi.
Voters were evenly split on which candidate would make better decisions about the economy. On health-care reform, 49 percent favor repeal compared to 40 percent who oppose repeal.
Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has called Washington State the “Bermuda Triangle” of polling in response to the dramatic lack of consistency among recent survey results, which SurveyUSA said represented “a unique and in some ways unprecedented disagreement among pollsters.”
See here for another interesting take the polling discrepancies.