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May 18, 2011 at 1:45 PM

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Poll: Inslee-McKenna race would start as a tossup

Posted by Jim Brunner

With the obligatory caveat that it's very early, a new poll finds Washington state's likely 2012 gubernatorial match-up would begin as a tossup.

The poll, by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, finds Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna with 40 percent support, compared with 38 percent for U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the Bainbridge Island Democrat.

But, the pollsters note, 23 percent of Democrats said they are undecided, compared with 13 percent of Republicans, so Inslee "would likely make up that deficit pretty fast" once the statewide race begins.

McKenna holds an 11-point lead among independents in the poll, though he's not winning over many Democrats.

PPP notes Democrats are better off with Inslee running than if Gov. Chris Gregoire decides to seek a third term. She's popular with only 38 percent of voters, compared with 48 percent disapproval. She'd start the race down 9 points to McKenna.

McKenna also polls better than U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, the Auburn Republican who has made noise about running.

Neither McKenna or Inslee has declared for governor. They're waiting for Gregoire to announce her plans.

The poll of 1,098 Washington voters was conducted May 12-15th. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. View the full results here.

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