One feature of the four-year political struggle between Gov. Chris Gregoire and almost-Gov. Dino Rossi has been an abundance of suspect and self-serving opinion surveys.
At last comes a poll, albeit with a few weeks under its belt, that surprised its takers.
In a trial heat, the incumbent Democrat had 43 percent, her Republican challenger received 41 percent, and 16 percent were undecided. The poll was based on interviews with 588 likely general election voters. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Joel quotes a poll that was commissioned back in November, but an Elway poll done much more recently shows the race to not be as close:
Seattle public opinion researcher Stuart Elway has released a good-news, bad-news poll on this year’s gubernatorial election rematch between Democratic incumbent Chris Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
The good news for Gregoire is that while she defeated Rossi by only 133 votes in the 2004 election, she now has a 13-percentage-point lead over him in voter preference. Only 35 percent of the respondents said they definitely or probably are inclined to vote for Rossi. Eighteen percent said they were undecided.
I’m not knocking Joel. I think the newspapers, to a degree, have a bias in favor of making this race closer than it really is. I’m not saying it’s a shoo-in for Chris Gregoire, but I think local media flacks are going to go out of their way to frame this thing positively for Rossi.
Looking back at ’06, Joel went out of his way to pitch Mike McGavick as an “Evans Republican”, or at least in a much more favorable light. He’s doing the same for Dino:
Republicans used to be big-time greens, passing the state’s first package of environmental laws. They helped forge the Washington wilderness bill and legislation protecting the Columbia Gorge. Lately, however, the party has demanded repeal of the Growth Management Act.
Rossi might do well to get with tradition.
Republicans haven’t been leaders on enviro-issues for decades. Guys like Rossi, totally in league with the looney tune base of his party, doesn’t think global warming is even a big deal:
Q: “Where are you on global warming?”
Rossi: (scoffs) “Where am I on global warming? The uh, I mean it’s clear that the earth, the earth is warming. That is clear, I mean, I think if we were to count how many feet of ice we were under many, many, tens and hundreds of millions of years ago – right where we are standing, right here – the earth has been warming and it will continue to warm. Apparently we’ve hit, we’ve hit the same temperature that it, that it had increased to in about, oh, twelve hundred AD I think it was. So, I mean, it was warmer then too. Uh, there are cycles.
There are things that we can do obviously to, to make sure that the environment is clean. That the air is clean, that the water’s clean, all those sorts of things that need to be done.
I think you also need to make sure that you look at the real science of this too and make sure that it makes sense. And so, uh, well-uh I-uh there’s still a lot of debate going on this, we see it out there and there’s going to be a big debate coming up in the next two, three years. Because there are, you know, I’ve listened to other scientists who disagree with, you know, I know – why are people even bothering about long term planning if Al Gore says the world is going to end in ten years or fifteen years – but there are a lot of scientists that disagree. So, I mean, we’ll see how this debate goes, but I don’t think anyone should panic at this point.” [Rossi at Port Orchard Chamber, 3/08/2007]
The guy’s a lightweight on all sorts of issues, especially the environment. While I understand Joel’s impulse to give Dino an out, it ain’t going to happen. “Evans Republicanism” is as dead as Julius Caesar, and Rossi has absolutely no inclination to run under that banner in ’08.