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The more voters get to know Patty Murray, the less they like her

New poll shows Rossi leading Murray by 6 in Washington Senate race

Despite the opinion of a left-leaning newspaper on the other side of the continent that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has a 74 percent chance of being re-elected, slightly more scientific numbers continue to favor Republican challenger Dino Rossi.

A new poll reported by The Washington Post this morning gives Rossi a six point lead – 48 to 42 – with less than two weeks remaining until voters can begin checking their ballots in Washington State’s mostly mail-in election. The poll – conducted by Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates – interviewed 500 likely voters in the state of Washington, over a trio of three-day time chunks in late June, mid-July and late September.
Perhaps more damaging to Murray than a lead for her opponent that sits outside the margin of error is that, oh yeah, the more voters get to know Patty Murray, the less they seem to like her.

When respondents were asked the standard set of name recognition and favorability questions about Murray – have you heard of Patty Murray and do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her – her name recognition improves by six points, but her unfavorables jump by nine. It doesn’t take a six-figure political consultant to spot a trend that spells big trouble for a three-term U.S. Senator who The Seattle Times recently lauded on their Sunday front page as a “D.C. powerbroker.”

For this reason, Murray’s campaign team deserves a smart move gold star award for not allowing her to appear in more than two televised debates. With an inverse relationship between candidate exposure and positive sentiment among voters showing strong over time, the less Murray speaks to the public, the better her chances.

The Rossi camp has a countermove to stymie Murray’s duck-and-cover strategy. By canvassing YouTube with hard-hitting spots, like the one below that connects Murray with an undisciplined and ineffective series of bailout measures undertaken by the Democratic Congress and the White House, they hope to flush her out and continue to make voter familiarity Murray’s worst enemy.

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[Cross-posted by author from Red County.]

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