Conservative Republican Snohomish County Council member John Koster, the likely Republican candidate in the 1st District Congressional race, released polling numbers today that show him with a commanding lead over the pack of six Democrats who are also running. [pullquote]Of course, this isn't exactly slam-dunk news for Koster.The winning vote is "Undecided"—at 39 percent.[/pullquote]

Koster, who narrowly lost as a Tea Party candidate to US Rep. Rick Larsen in the old 2nd Congressional District in 2010, scored 37 percent in the poll when voters in the new 1st were asked who they would vote for. The closest Democrat, Darcy Burner, scored 11 percent, far behind Koster, but well ahead of her Democratic rivals, none of whom even get to five percent.

Despite the fact that the poll was done for Koster, sources on the Democratic side who have polled acknowledge that the numbers look about right.

37% - John Koster

4% -   Laura Ruderman

11% - Darcy Burner

4% -   Steve Hobbs

3% -   Suzan DelBene

1% -   Darshan Rauniyar

1 % -  Roger Goodman

39% - Not sure/refused

Of course, this isn't exactly slam-dunk news for Koster.

The winning vote is "Undecided"—at 39 percent. Given that Koster is the only Republican on the ballot—James Watkins dropped out---you'd expect him to have a higher showing in evenly divided turf. (There's an independent candidate, Larry Ishmael, but he didn't show up in the results.)

Additionally, you've got six Democratic candidates carving up the Democratic vote, so their relatively low numbers are easily explained. (Though I would have thought local state Sen. Steve Hobbs would have done better than 4 percent.)

Koster's poll also says that the district is, as the Democrats have figured, tough turf for a liberal. Koster's campaign site notes:

For weeks, political insiders have discussed whether the newly drawn district, which is 2/3rds rural, favors a Republican or a Democrat. The poll shows that the overall issue constellation favors a conservative leaning candidate - from issues of top concern, to Medicare reform, and control of Congress. For example, a whopping 65% of the electorate disagree with President Obama's decision to shut down construction on the Keystone Pipeline.

Koster has raised $248,00 and has $113,000 cash on hand, which makes him competitive with the Democrats. (Laura Ruderman leads the Democrats in fundraising; she's raised $260,000 and has $187,000 cash on hand.)

New fundraising reports—accounting for the first quarter—are due this month.
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