A couple of polls about the 1st Congressional District race—where five Democrats are competing to make it through the primary and face off against the lone Republican, John Koster, who's virtually guaranteed to go through—hit today.

The bottom line: Netroots liberal Darcy Burner (who ran for Congress twice before against US Rep. Dave Reichert, in 2006 and 2008, and lost) and former state Department of Revenue Director Suzan DelBene (who also lost a bid for Congress against Reichert in 2010) are emerging from the pack.

The good news in the numbers, though, is for DelBene. Burner has been well ahead of the other four Democratic candidates for months (closing in on 20 percent) while DelBene was at the bottom of the heap at around four percent.


One of the new polls, a Public Policy Polling poll for the liberal group Democracy for America, found Burner doing the best among the Democratic candidates, getting 17 percent. But DelBene has climbed to a convincing second‚ at 13 percent. DelBene, whose net worth is $53 million (she was a Microsoft exec and helped start Drugstore.com, which eventually sold to Walgreens), recently put $1 million of her own money into her campaign and did a $730,000 TV campaign. It appears to have helped.

She also does better than Burner with independents—key in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District—getting 14 percent to Burner's nine percent. (In bad news for another candidate in the race, centrist state Sen. Steve Hobbs, the polling did not confirm a recent poll that his campaign commissioned, which had him in a dead heat with Burner and DelBene at 12 percent to Burner's 13 and DelBene's 11. PPP had Hobbs at five percent.)

The good news for Burner in the PPP poll? She owns the Democratic vote. Of the Democrats who were polled, Burner got 40 percent of their votes. DelBene was in a distant second, with 23 percent.

Another poll, this one done by local pollsters Strategies 360, was even better for DelBene: Burner was at 12 percent and DelBene was right on her heels at 11. (Koster was at 36 percent.) The poll also  measured favorability and name ID. Burner and DelBene, again, led the field of Democrats here with Burner at 26 percent favorability and DelBene at 24 percent. Both candidates were also much better known than their Democratic rivals—Burner had 47 percent name ID and DelBene was at 41 percent. No other Democrat topped 20.

However, name ID comes with its drawbacks: Burner had a 21 percent unfavorable rating. DelBene had a 17 percent unfavorable rating. (She has recently been the butt of an independent expenditure campaign, funded by the mom of another candidate, Laura Ruderman, questioning DelBene's business success and comparing her to Mitt Romney.)

Koster, an arch-conservative Snohomish County Council member, got 48 percent in the PPP poll (obviously, he's not competing with other Republicans) and got an impressive 45 percent of independents. In other good news for Koster, he matches the Democrats with 24 percent favorability, has just 13 percent unfavorability, and has 37 percent name ID.

Meanwhile, no issue—not education (seven percent), the environment (two percent), health care (11 percent)—came close to voters' top issue, jobs, which ranked at 56 percent in the PPP poll.