We've been hearing an awful lot, even from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) himself, that Republicans taking back control of the Senate isn't as likely to happen, due to "candidate quality." It's worth noting that forecasters still have it as a "Toss-Up," or for Democrats only slightly favored to keep control of the chamber, as many races are tight in key seats.
One of them, surprisingly enough, is in Washington state, where Sen. Patty Murray, the Democratic incumbent, is just a few percentage points ahead of her Republican challenger, Tiffany Smiley. This is according to a recent poll from the Trafalgar Group.
New @trafalgar_group #WASen #Poll (8/30-9/1) shows incumbent #Murray in a somewhat surprisingly close race w/challenger #Smiley #wapol— The Trafalgar Group (@trafalgar_group) September 2, 2022
See Report: https://t.co/7EAobIIJdv pic.twitter.com/4j466OYoYu
Murray's lead of 2.9 percent, with her 49.2 percent support to Smiley's 46.3 percent is exactly where the margin of error is. The lead is also smaller than the amount of undecided voters, which is at 4.5 percent.
The poll was conducted August 30-September 1, with 1,087 likely general election voters.
While Cook Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball consider the race to be "Solid Democratic" and "Safe Democratic," respectively, Inside Elections considers the race to be "Likely Democratic."
Murray's lead in this poll is a lot less than it was in the nonpartisan primary from August 2 to advance to the general election, in which she enjoyed 57.08 of the vote to Smiley's 69.7 percent. In her re-election campaign from 2016, Murray also handily won with a lead of 18 percentage points, 59 percent to Republican Chris Vance's 41 percent.
Washington state is considered a reliably Democratic, deep blue seat. If it truly is a red wave though, it's certainly possible for Smiley to pull off a win. If she still loses but by such a narrow margin, it'll be time for the Republican Party to think about investing more in races that they might not have thought they had a chance in before, but might in future cycles, especially if they actually put in the time and effort.
At the state level, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) released a memo in July indicating that they had added Washington as a Democratic-controlled state where they now see "Opportunities to Flip Chambers."