Might Patty Murray soon truly be “just a mom in tennis shoes”?

It is pretty well understood that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) is in trouble if Dino Rossi decides to run against her this year. But polling data suggests that Murray may be in trouble period.
Survey USA has her trailing Rossi by 52 perent to 42 percent. But it also has her failing to exceed 46 percent against any of her potential opponents:

Patty Murray (D) — 46%
Don Benton (R) — 44%
Patty Murray (D) — 46%
Clint Didier (R) — 44%
Patty Murray (D) — 45%
Chris Widener (R) — 43%
Patty Murray (D) — 45%
Paul Akers (R) — 44%
Patty Murray (D) — 45%
Art Cody (R) — 41%

Clint Didier, by the way, is the former superb H-Back for the Washington Redskins. Every year around Super-Bowl time, you can watch him haul in a touchdown pass from Doug Williams in Super Bowl XXII. Now a successful farmer, businessman, and high school football coach, Didier has become a Tea Party activist.
Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics explains why these numbers should have Murray worried:

Murray. . . gets clobbered by Rossi, who has run two statewide elections in the last five years, losing by ten points.
But even if Rossi doesn’t run, she’s stuck at around 45% against the rest of the field, which includes a state senator (Benton), an inventor (Akers), a doctor (Coday), a former pro football player and farmer (Didier), and a businessman (Widener). These are the type of candidates who should be pulling 30% against even an unpopular three-term Senator right now, not running neck-and-neck with her.
Indeed, when you examine the differences between the Murray-Rossi polling and the other polling, we see that the only difference is that Republicans and Independents move to undecided. Murray gets 73% of Democrats against Rossi (with 6% undecided), while against the others she receives between 76 and 79 percent of the Democratic vote, with 5-9% undecided. But Rossi gets 87% of Republicans and 59% of Independents. The other Republicans get around 48% of Independents and 78% of Republicans, with undecideds rising into the double digits in those categories.
In other words, I suspect that even if Rossi doesn’t run, these other Republicans have significant room for growth, much more so than Murray has.
And it gets even worse. SurveyUSA finds an electorate with the following demographic breakdown: 36%D, 23%R, and 39%I; 20% 65+; 33% conservative, 43% moderate, 19% liberal. In 2008, the Washington electorate was 36%D, 26%R and 39%I; 19% 65+; 32% conservative, 41% moderate, 27% liberal.
Very few people are expecting the 2010 electorate to resemble the 2008 electorate this closely; it is expected to be older, whiter, and more conservative. I certainly don’t expect fewer Republicans in the electorate than there were in 2008. In other words, this poll might actually understate how bad things are for Murray.


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