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All Tied Up In WA

A new survey confirms what many in Washington State already knew: The race for governor is a dead heat. The rematch between Governor Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, and former Republican State Senator Dino Rossi comes four years after Gregoire won, following multiple recounts, by just 129 votes, and it represents one of Republicans' best hopes of taking back a governorship this year.

The poll, conducted by Moore Information, a Republican firm based in Portland, Oregon, surveyed 400 registered voters between 7/9-10 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Moore Information has done work for the Republican Governors' Association before, but this poll was not sponsored by the RGA. (Major update: The poll was conducted for Rossi's campaign. We regret the oversight.) Gregoire and Rossi were tested.

General Election Matchup
Gregoire........45 (-2 from last, 7/07)
Rossi.............45 (+2)

Virtually every poll this year has shown the two candidates neck and neck, though most have shown a slight Gregoire lead. Both candidates have raised incredible amounts of money, but Rossi has lately narrowed the cash-on-hand edge that Gregoire once enjoyed.

Too, both candidates have gotten bad press lately over associations with outside groups. Rossi has benefited from the Building Industry Association of Washington and its allies, which have poured money into his campaign, while Gregoire is taking heat for money she's raised associated with Native American tribes and teachers' groups.

Though the candidates aren't on television yet, Gregoire is running radio spots associating Rossi with President Bush, while Rossi is up with his own spots noting the early attacks. But Gregoire's ads come after the Builders and other Republican allies started running ads that slammed Gregoire's tenure as governor.

The two candidates are not each others' biggest fans. And given the early negativity and shear volume of money involved in the race, the tone doesn't look like it will change any time soon. Watch both national parties pour resources into the Evergreen State, as Gregoire and Rossi fight what could again be one of the closest races in the country.