A new KING-5/SurveyUSA poll shows Democratic Suzan DelBene now trailing Republican incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert 52-45%, and while a seven-point gap a month for the election wouldn’t usually be something the challenger would tout, this latest survey shows a dramatic tightening of the race at time when Republicans were expecting their Big Red Wave to be approaching its peak.
In an election for US House of Representatives in Washington State’s 8th Congressional District today, 09/30/10, incumbent Republican Dave Reichert defeats Democratic challenger Suzan DelBene 52% to 45%, according to this latest exclusive KING-TV poll conducted by SurveyUSA.
Compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll 4 weeks ago, DelBene is up 4 points; Reichert is down 2. Among moderates, Reichert had led by 4, now trails by 17, a 21-point swing to the Democrat. Among women, DelBene had trailed by 8 points, now leads by 3, an 11-point swing to the Democrat. Men and voters age 35 to 49 account for almost all of Reichert’s advantage.
52-45%, huh? Not much different from some of the polls we’ve seen in the allegedly close Patty Murray/Dino Rossi race.
Assuming SurveyUSA’s numbers can be trusted this cycle (and I’m not necessarily making that assumption), this shows a ton of movement in DelBene’s direction over the past month… the kinda momentum that should it continue, could make this race a tossup by election day. For example, Darcy Burner trailed Reichert by the exact same 54-41% margin at the end of August 2006 as DelBene trailed Reichert at the same point during this cycle, yet surged to within a silver hair of victory.
And a look at the cross-tabs suggests that there’s still plenty of opportunity for DelBene to pick up support simply by educating traditional Democratic voters about where Reichert stands on hot button issues. For example, Reichert’s still drawing 13% of liberals, 17% of Democrats, and an incongruous 30% of pro-choice voters. These are all constituencies in which DelBene stands to improve.
Interestingly WA-08 is not the only race that appears to be tightening in recent weeks, for as the New York Times reports, shifting polls suggest that Republicans are having a tough time locking down a House majority in the manner Democrats did in 2006.
By now, Republicans had hoped to put away a first layer of Democrats and set their sights on a second tier of incumbents. But the fight for control of Congress is more fluid than it seemed at Labor Day, with Democrats mounting strong resistance in some parts of the country as they try to hold off a potential Republican wave in November.
The chances of a Republican takeover in the House remain far greater than in the Senate, according to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times. But enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.
Huh. So if Reichert’s near total lack of campaigning really is a manifestation of a cynical electoral strategy rather than, say, his traumatic brain injury, he might want to reconsider how safe his seat really is in a political climate that is at least as anti-incumbent as it is anti-Democratic.