Republicans have a lot of Democratic incumbents this year who are pretty good targets, but it doesn't look like Maria Cantwell will be one of them. She has solid approval numbers and weak opposition, and as a result leads all of her potential foes by double digits at this point.
47% of Washington voters approve of the job Cantwell's doing to 38% who disapprove. To put those numbers into some context, our first Washington Senate poll of 2010 found Patty Murray with a 46/45 approval spread. So Cantwell's net approval is 8 points better and Murray of course went on to be reelected by 5 points in what was an otherwise dreadful election year for Democrats.
Cantwell is at 81/10 with Democrats and has a decent amount of crossover popularity with Republicans, 17% of whom approve of her to 65% who disapprove. That support from the GOP helps make up for the fact that she's at 40/43 with independents.
Cantwell leads Michael Baumgartner 51-36 and Bill Bryant 50-36 in hypothetical head to heads. She wins over 90% of the Democratic vote against both of them and takes independents by 9-11 points. She also gets double digit support from Republicans- 10-11%.
It wouldn't be a statewide election in Washington if you didn't throw Dino Rossi's name in the mix. But we find that he trails Cantwell 53-41 in a hypothetical contest, a larger margin than he lost any of his other three previous statewide races by. Voters don't particularly care for Rossi, with only 38% rating him favorably to 50% with a negative opinion. Rossi's days as a viable contender are probably over.
It doesn't looks like there's going to be a lot of excitement at the federal level in Washington this fall. Cantwell and Barack Obama are both pretty safe. But hotly contested referendums on gay marriage and marijuana and what's likely to be a close race for Governor should provide enough intrigue at the state level to make this an exciting election year in the state.
Full results here