Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos. 10/9-10/10. MoE 3.0%
Dave Reichert (R) 49%
Suzan DelBene (D) 46%
Dave Reichert, for the third election in a row, remains among the most vulnerable Republican House members. This is the swing district where Darcy Burner nipped at Reichert's heels in both 2006 and 2008. It could be that voters in the 8th have finally decided to stop grading Reichert on a curve, and expect their congressman to start doing more than just showing up. That's what led the Seattle Times, Reichert's most stalwart defender in the past two cycles, to endorse the challengers in the August top-two primary.
On issues ranging from the wars to the economy, three-term Republican incumbent Reichert is unstudied and comes up short. After six years in office, this is unacceptable.
Reichert opposed financial reform, but was unable to explain what he did or did not like about the legislation. The 8th District deserves someone who is faster on their feet.
And they like DelBene.
DelBene has not held public office and has a spotty voting record, but her résumé is a narrative of leadership and vision. She was vice president for mobile communications at Microsoft and played key roles in leading two technology companies, drugstore.com and Nimble Technology. Most recently, DelBene worked with a nonprofit group that supports microfinance in Latin America.
Most of the public polling in the race has been done by SUSA, which has had some pretty funky numbers in the Seattle Metro area in polls this cycle. Nonetheless, the SUSA numbers have shown an increasingly tight race here, with their latest poll showing a seven-point gap, Reichert leading 52-45. An internal poll released by DelBene last week confirms PPP, with Reichert leading by the skin of his teeth, 48-44.
This is truly a swing district. In 2008, this district split the ticket--it gave Obama a 15-point edge, but Reichert won 53-47. The Murray-Rossi results in this district, a 49-49 tie, is frankly disconcerting (though it shows, again, how unpopular Rossi is), and might reflect that here's a district where incumbents are not in favor. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is Gregoire's approval numbers (not good) and how much residual sour grapes from his losses to Gregoire could be propping up Rossi.
The most striking thing about this poll for DelBene is Dem enthusiasm. There's hardly any enthusiasm gap reflected here. DelBene has a 78/4 favorability spread with Dems. They like her and are excited about her, and will likely take the trouble to fill in their mail-in ballots for her. If DelBene can hold the Dems and moderates who went for Obama, she can take this. And, given the Times primary endorsement, it doesn't seem likely that Reichert can look forward to another October surprise hatchet job coming from them.