Democratic Sen. Patty Murray remains in a tight race for re-election but has edged past potential Republican challengers in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Washington State voters.
Murray earns support from 49 percent of likely voters in Washington in a matchup with Dino Rossi, who picks up 47 percent support.
Two-thirds of Washington voters identify Murray as at least somewhat liberal politically, but 54 percent regard her views as mainstream. Forty percent say her views are extreme.
Almost 80 percent of the 750 voters in the July 28 poll regard Rossi as at least somewhat conservative, but 50 percent say he’s in the mainstream. Only 34 percent regard his views as extreme.
Washington voters will select the two finalists in the race on Aug. 17 in a nonpartisan primary. It is widely expected that Murray and Rossi will be the general election candidates.
If Clint Didier is her GOP opponent, Murray picks up 48 percent of the vote, while the challenger gets 45 percent.
Businessman Paul Akers remains her weakest Republican opponent. She now captures 48 percent of the vote to his 42 percent. In all three matchups, 10 percent or less either prefer some other candidate or are undecided.
The new findings shift Washington from a tossup state to leans Democratic in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power summary. The ranking is based partly upon the benefits of incumbency that will help Murray and the fact that President Barack Obama won the state in convincing fashion two years ago.
Two weeks ago, the Republican candidates were doing a bit better, but the overall tone of the race remains competitive.
Just over 30 percent of Washington voters have a very favorable opinion of Murray, who has served in the Senate since 1993, while 33 percent view her very unfavorably.
Rossi, a two-time unsuccessful candidate for governor, is viewed very favorably by 27 percent and very unfavorably by 29 percent.
For Didier, a former professional football player who is now a businessman, very favorables are 13 percent and very unfavorable, 13 percent.
Seven percent have a very favorable view of Akers, while13 percent regard him very unfavorably.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
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