Republicans Mitt Romney and Rob McKenna have gained ground on their Democratic opponents in Washington state, the latest KING 5 News poll shows.

Romney trails President Barack Obama by 14 points in Washington state (40 percent to Obama's 54 percent). But that represents a pick-up of 6 points since the last KING 5 poll conducted at the end of September.

And McKenna saw a net gain of 3 points against Jay Inslee in the governor race, putting the contest back within the poll's margin of error. Inslee leads Mckenna 47 percent to 44 percent, the poll found, with 9 percent undecided. Just two weeks ago, a KING 5 poll found Inslee leading McKenna by 6 points, 48 percent to 42 percent.

Romney's gains in the presidential race came after the first presidential debate -- a meeting that most polls and pundits agree Romney won decisively. The two candidates meet for their second debate Tuesday night at Hofstra University in New York.

In the governor race, the two candidates had similar favorability ratings -- McKenna had a 38 percent favorable rating and 27 percent unfavorable, while Inslee had a 35 percent favorable rating and 28 percent unfavorable.

Compared to the poll taken at the end of September, McKenna gained ground among voters over age 50, where Inslee led by 8 points in the last poll and now trails by 2. There is offsetting movement among political moderates, where Inslee led by 15 two weeks ago an now leads by 28.

Voters were split on which candidate would be the best leader on a number of issues.

Inslee was viewed as the candidate whose views on social issues more closely match respondents (47 percent to 42 percent for McKenna), and he was picked as the stronger candidate on the environment (48 percent to 24 percent).

McKenna, meanwhile, was viewed as being the better candidate on improving Washington's economy (43 percent to 32 percent for Inslee), and led on the issue of education (42 percent to 35 percent).

Inslee was seen as the more likeable candidate by respondents (44 percent to 31 percent), but was seen as the candidate more likely to raise taxes (43 percent to 32 percent).

On the question of which candidate would bring more change to Olympia, McKenna led 45 percent to 31 percent. And respondents said they believe McKenna is the smarter of the two candidates -- 37 percent to 29 percent, with 34 percent not sure.

Nearly half of respondents -- 49 percent -- said Washington is headed on the wrong track, compared with 36 percent who said the state is headed in the right direction.

The poll, conducted for KING 5 News by SurveyUSA, surveyed 543 likely voters between Oct. 12 and 14. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percent.

Read or Share this story: