Up Front AM: New KING 5 poll finds DelBene gains ground

A new KING 5 poll finds Democrat Suzan DelBene’s TV commercials are apparently having an impact, boosting her numbers by 13 points since our last poll in May.

In a new poll of 563 likely voters in the 1st Congressional District, John Koster leads a field of seven candidates with 38%.  As the only Republican in the race, Koster is virtually assured of getting through the August Top Two primary based on this latest poll.  Delbene comes in second at 17% with Democrat Darcy Burner at 13%.  Democrats Laura Ruderman and Steve Hobbs get 6% and 5% respectively, with Democrat Darshan Rauniyar and independent Larry Ishmael both trailing with 2%.

SurveyUSA includes likely voters contacted on both landlines and cell phones between July 24 and 25, and has a margin of 4.2%.

Some highlights from the poll:

A TV campaign:  Delbene is hitting the airwaves hard, spending more than a million dollars of her own money to make it through the August primary.  While opponents have accused her of trying to buy the race, our KING 5 poll finds 79% of voters say a candidate’s wealth is not a factor in deciding who gets their vote for Congress.  With DelBene’s fundraising advantage, it’s a race that is largely playing out on TV.  Ruderman speaks frequently about doorbelling the district, but only 21% say they have actually met at least one candidate in person; 77% say they’ve met none of the candidates face-to-face.

It’s the economy:  In deciding who to elect to Congress, 55% say economic issues are most important, followed by 16% who said social issues and 12% who said health care.

Favorable/Unfavorable ratings:  As DelBene has sought to introduce herself on TV, she has also accumulated some unfavorable ratings.  About 23% of voters have a favorable impression of DelBene, while 25% say they have an unfavorable impression of her.  Burner sits at 19% favorable, 29% unfavorable.  Meanwhile, Koster enjoys a 28% favorable rating, and 14% unfavorable.

Head-to-head:  Looking forward to November, it couldn’t be closer.  If the race were between Koster and DelBene, SurveyUSA finds it’s a dead heat—42% each.  It’s also effectively a dead heat if it were Koster vs. Burner. 

Telling indicators: In a district that was drawn to be a swing seat, 36% say a Congress person from a rural part of the district would represent their interests better, while 32% say an urban candidate would better identify with them.  In the First District, President Obama leads Mitt Romney 50% to 40%, but the governor’s contest is effectively tied in this particular district with McKenna 46%, Inslee 44%.  Inslee represented a good portion of this district before he resigned to run for governor.  The boundaries have since been redrawn dramatically.