Pre-Election Jolt

On Friday, I noted some Washington state polling data along with some stats on early voting in Puget Sound which seemed to defy the conventional wisdom that Republicans are going to route Democrats on Election Day here—like they appear poised to do nationally.

But now comes a harsh reality check on that rosy Democratic interpretation. 

This just in from what's called "baseline" internal polling by Democrats that was done over the summer in key Legislative Districts where the Democrats are trying to win back the senate. (Baseline polling, as opposed to routine "tracking" polls that give candidates a snapshot of the horse race, are longer 15-to-20-minute surveys that test messaging.)

Final bit of bad news: Tracking polling since the summer reportedly "mirrors the national polls." 

In baseline polling, for example, Democratic state house candidates test job performance ratings for high profile Democrats such as President Obama and Gov. Jay Inslee. Those numbers help messaging—should the candidate associate themself with the president?—and also give candidates a temperature check on how the district is leaning. 

You'll remember, in 2006 when President Bush was tanking, the Democrats cleaned up locally—even winning a state senate race for the first time since 1940 in Spokane's 6th Legislative District, when Democrat Chris Marr was elected. He lost in 2010.  

The numbers in a batch of key battlegrounds this year spell bad news for the Democrats:

• In the 28th Legislative District (where Democratic state Rep. Tami Green, D-28, Tacoma, is running against incumbent Republican state Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-28, Lakewood): Obama's disapproval rating is 24 points worse than his approval rating. Meanwhile, Inslee, doing a little better, is 15 points in the negative.

• In the 42nd Legislative District, where Democrat Seth Fleetwood is running against incumbent state Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale): Obama 22 points in the negative. Inslee is down 16. 

• And in the 45th, (incumbent Republican state Sen. Andy Hill's, R-45, Redmond, swing district Microsoft turf that's getting all the attention because Democratic challenger Matt Isenhower posted the most hopeful Democratic primary numbers in August as the only challenger to crack 45 percent): Obama's approval rating is 18 points below his disapproval rating.  Inslee, in less desperate territory and showing why the Democrats are pinning their hopes here, is only 6 down.

Final bit of bad news for the Democrats: Tracking polling since the summer reportedly "mirrors the national polls," according to a source on the polling.