Thursday, May 05, 2011

Is Cantwell Vulnerable?

A new Elway Poll says Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell, who is facing re-election next year, could very well be vulnerable — IF, and it's a BIG IF — the Republicans can actually field a credible candidate. But then that's their usual problem with getting anyone elected. The R's can't seem to find moderates — folks whose message resonates with the majority of Washington voters — usually opting instead for right-wing extremists.  

A new Elway poll finds Cantwell's “Job Performance” rating at 52 percent “negative” to 42 percent “positive" — nearly the exact opposite of her 2005 numbers a year out from re-election. Back then, her numbers were 52 positive vs. 38 negative.)

The Elway Poll supposed an imaginary open primary against a group of Republicans that included former KIRO TV anchor Susan Hutchison; Tea Party activist Clint Didier; U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert; and Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant. Cantwell won big over all of them with 47 percent of the vote.

You may recall that in 2006 Cantwell beat former Safeco Insurance CEO Mike McGavick, 56.9 percent to 39.9 percent. Obviously, she could do a lot worse in 2012 and still win since the Republicans don't have anyone waiting in the wings that according to Elway would be a credible challenger.
On the other hand, I've heard it said more than once that Elway couldn't poll himself accurately.

Cantwell's approval numbers in the most recent poll aren't higher now because there are fewer undecided voters. Clearly, between a May 2005 poll, until the Summer of 2009 Cantwell’s approval numbers have been more volatile, with six of the last 20 polls showing her with higher disapproval, ratings but with an overall trend of a higher approval. So given the absence of any strong Republican opponent on the horizon, it doesn't appear to me at least that she has too much to worry about.

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