KATU poll finds tight race for Washington governor

PORTLAND, Ore. - The race for the next governor of Washington is close, according to a KATU News/SurveyUSA poll released Tuesday.

While 47 percent of respondents said they would vote for Democrat Jay Inslee and 44 percent said Republican Rob McKenna had their vote, the results were within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points - making the candidates about even in the closely watched race.

Of the 543 likely voters surveyed, about 9 percent said they were still undecided.

Inslee polled well among younger voters in the 18 to 34 age range, garnering 53 percent of the vote to McKenna's 33 percent. McKenna did better with voters 65 years and older, receiving 54 percent of the vote to Inslee's 42 percent.

Regionally, McKenna did far better in southwest Washington, which is KATU's viewing area, than Inslee - almost 60 percent of voters there said they would vote for McKenna while 30 percent said they would vote for Inslee.

McKenna also did well in eastern Washington by almost the same margin; however, voters who live in the populous Seattle area chose Inslee over McKenna 54 percent to 34 percent.

The two squared off for their final debate Tuesday night over education funding. Both candidates said they wouldn't raise taxes to fund schools but disagreed over a proposed tax plan to do so.

Read about it here.

The state hasn't elected a Republican governor since 1980, but in a recent interview with The Associated Press, McKenna argued that the close race is proof that things can turn out differently this time.

"This state is not a deep blue state," he told the AP. "It's a 50-50 state. We have a much larger group of people who vote for the person and not for the party."

Inslee has represented both sides of the Cascade Mountains in the state as a congressman, and he told the AP that it's good to have someone who "legitimately understands the economic opportunities of eastern Washington and the challenges."

KATU's poll was conducted from Friday, Oct. 12 to Sunday, Oct. 14.