• Grove Insight for SEIU and WFSE

After months of polls show Republican Rob McKenna with a small but steady lead in the governor's race, things may be turning around for Democrat Jay Inslee, what with the second poll in as many weeks finding the contest a dead heat.

According to a new survey of 500 likely voters conducted February 20-23 (PDF), the race is now tied at 38-38, with 25 percent undecided. A recent PPP poll found a 42-42 tie. The new poll also finds the two candidates with matching 33 percent favorable ratings.

Of course, caveats abound, not the least of which being that the survey was conducted the end of February, but the election isn't until November. Also, the poll was conducted on behalf of two Inslee-backing unions, SEIU and WFSE.* Campaigns and partisans backers don't commission polls in order to deceive themselves, but they only release polling data that serves their purposes, so you always have to take internal polls with a grain of salt.

That said, whether it's due to local events or the national tide, insiders do believe they've seen a shift in Inslee's favor over recent weeks. I'm looking forward to the next poll to see if that holds up.

[*UPDATE: I got an email from SEIU reminding me that they "haven't endorsed anyone yet." Fair enough. But they're about as likely to endorse McKenna as the Seattle Times is to endorse Inslee.]