Polls were released this morning in the Washington Senate race and the California Governor’s contest.

The Washington Senate race pits incumbent Patty Murray, the incumbent, versus Republican challenger Dino Rossi. Early on, Murray had a substantial lead, but for the last month and a half, the projected results have been within the margin of error in virtually poll that has been taken. The results shown today are based upon a Rasmussen poll and show Rossi with a 1 point lead. In the previous Rasmussen poll conducted 10 days ago, Murray had a 3 point lead. An important thing to recognize is that each polling firm determines its own likely voter model. These models are unlikely to change during an election campaign since published results would appear to lack consistency. Thus, each firm’s projection is best compared to its previous vote assessment than with other firms, since they likely have different voter screens. Based upon the above analysis, then, Rossi is likely to have gained ground in the last fortnight. Overall, according to RCP, Murray has a 1 point lead, when examining a number of different firms’ results.

Another West Coast race has had polling released today, the contest for governor of California. This contest finds Jerry Brown, the Democrat, versus his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman. Today, the poll that was released was conducted by the Fields organization and shows Brown expanding his lead to 10 points. A little more than a month ago, the same firm had the race tied.

It’s always difficult to tell what could have caused this kind of apparently secular change in a race like this, but I’m gonna try. It seems to me, if Whitman’s polling is indeed cratering like this, that it may be the result of a couple of things. First, the illegal immigrant maid may have struck a bad tone in this, the year of the Tea Party, when the most likely voters are upset at the establishment who makes rules for the rest of us that they have no intention of abiding by. As well, Whitman has spent a ton of money on this election. But, in retrospect, it may have been money better spent to paint Brown as the incumbent since he has been in some type of political office for a few generations now. Instead, she seems to have used the funds to introduce herself as a person who can solve problems. But like I said, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing when so many things seem to have gone awry recently to her hopes.