The first poll in Washington’s 2010 US Senate race has been released, and it looks good for incumbent Democrat Patty Murray.
The Daily Kos/Research 2000 survey polled head-to-head matchups between Sen. Murray and both Dave Reichert and Rob McKenna, both of whom Murray led by double-digit margins. Sen. Murray scored a respectable 55% favorable rating, whereas Reichert and McKenna registered 38% and 34% favorable respectively.
Not surprising really, though apart from Murray’s strength I think the survey also reveals the inherent weakness of the Republican bench here in Washington state. Indeed, that DKos/R2K would even bother to poll head-to-head with Reichert and McKenna is telling, considering that neither is likely to challenge Murray in 2010.
Reichert is a political lightweight with demonstrated shallow support even within his own district. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that a Reichert Senate run would end up any differently than 2004, when an equally politically diminutive George Nethercutt got his ass whipped by the physically diminutive Murray. Reichert might be stupid enough to give it go, but I doubt his handlers are.
Meanwhile, only 63% of respondents even had an opinion of McKenna, despite him being the highest ranking Republican official statewide, and arguably the most talented politician in the WSRP. McKenna is widely considered to be biding his time in preparation for a 2012 gubernatorial run, a race for which, four years out, many political insiders rank him the frontrunner, despite his obvious handicap (ie, his Republicanism). McKenna would have to be absolutely crazy to risk his gubernatorial bid on a quixotic challenge of Murray. And McKenna is not crazy.
Of course, if DKos/R2K was going to run a poll, they had to do a head to head with somebody, and for the life of me I don’t have any better suggestions. Dino Rossi? Cathy McMorris-Rodgers? Mike!™ McGavick? I don’t expect any of them to run, and I wouldn’t expect them to win if they did. But who else does the WSRP have?
Just goes to show you how weak the Republican bench is in Washington state these days.