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Eye On Olympia

Sat., Nov. 1, 2008, 4:47 p.m.

Last-minute poll suggests that Rossi’s gaining, but will it be enough to overtake Gregoire?

The University of Washington's Washington Poll has new numbers out in the governor's race, and here's the upshot: neither side, it seems, can afford to slack off.

The 387-person poll, done Oct. 27-31, shows Gov. Chris Gregoire, the Democrat in the race, with 50 percent of the vote. Republican challenger Dino Rossi has 48 percent.

The numbers are slightly better for Rossi than an Oct. 18-26 poll by the same folks. That had Gregoire at 51 percent and Rossi at just 45 percent.

If those numbers are accurate -- the new poll has a fairly high margin of error of 5 percent - then Rossi could be repeating something he managed in 2004: a last-minute surge that put him neck and neck with Gregoire.

"The latest data shows undecided voters slightly breaking for Rossi, making the election for Governor very, very close headed into the final days," said Matt Barreto, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UW and director of the Washington Poll. But he noted that most public polls this year have shown Gregoire at least slightly ahead of Rossi.

The poll showed similar results in the presidential race: Barack Obama's 51 percent to John McCain's 39 percent. That's a 5 percentage point gain for McCain over the previous poll.

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