Cantwell leads in early poll

A Republican poll to be released today shows Sen. Maria CantwellMaria CantwellThe most important question in 2017: how do we get to yes? US wins aerospace subsidies trade case over the EU Wells CEO Stumpf resigns from Fed advisory panel 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 GoreA Berniecrat's argument against Jill Stein and for Hillary Clinton Gore slams 'dangerous' Dakota pipeline project Total debate audience sets all-time record MORE and John KerryJohn KerryTrump’s complaints on media consolidation only the tip of the iceberg Countries create largest marine reserve off Antarctica The Atlantic Council's questionable relationship with Gabon’s leader 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