Cantwell leads in early poll


A Republican poll to be released today shows Sen. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellFeds crack down on coal cleanup financing Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Remembering small business during the presidential election MORE (D-Wash.) leading her presumed GOP opponent, Mike McGavick, by eight points.

Cantwell, a freshman, received 46 percent of the vote versus McGavick’s 38 percent in the Strategic Vision poll. Sixteen percent of voters said they were undecided.

McGavick is the president and CEO of Safeco, an insurance giant based in Seattle. He is slated to step down from the company’s helm at the end of this month.

Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson acknowledged that McGavick trails Cantwell but stressed that the senator is “below the critical 50-percent mark.”

She raised close to $1.7 million in the second quarter of 2005, bringing her cash on hand to just more than $3 million.

While Republicans have called the Washington race a top priority, the state remains decidedly blue. Democratic presidential contenders Al GoreAl GoreTrump was wrong: Kaine is a liberal in a moderate's clothing Media ship of fools: The First Amendment blues Jill Stein helps Trump as Ralph Nader helped Bush MORE and John KerryJohn KerryKerry to media: Scale back terror coverage Top Dem concerned about 'calamitous conditions' in Yemen State: US concerned about missile defense system at Iranian uranium facility MORE won there decisively.

Still, Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) could pose problems for Cantwell. A large slice of Washington voters believe Gregoire, who was sworn in in January, did not really win the election against Republican Dino Rossi. Rossi fought to have the election results overturned in court but lost.

The survey gave Gregoire a 36-percent approval rating, with 56 percent of voters disapproving of the job she’s doing. President Bush had an approval rating of 43 percent; 49 percent disapprove of his administration.

Peter Savodnik