Is the reliably liberal state of Washington turning red?  Or maybe just tired of hearing how Osama bin Laden opened schools and day care centers?  Either way, Rasmussen’s latest poll of likely voters in the Pacific Northwest shows that it doesn’t make much difference which Republican runs against Patty Murray for her Senate seat, as long as one of them does:

Washington’s Senate race looks increasingly like a referendum on incumbent Democrat Patty Murray with two Republican candidates edging past her this month.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Washington State finds Republican hopefuls Dino Rossi and Clint Didier both earning 48% support in match-ups with Murray. She, in turn, picks up 45% of the vote against the two GOP challengers. Less than 10% of voters in both cases prefer some other candidate in the race or are undecided.

In June, Murray and Rossi were tied as they have been in virtually every survey this year. Since the beginning of the year, Murray has earned 46% to 48% of the vote, while Rossi’s support has ranged from 46% to 49%.

Incumbents that fall short of 50% at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable, but worrisome for Murray is that this is her poorest showing of the year. She was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 55% of the vote.

Rossi seems to have the best internals in the long run, but Didier isn’t far behind on any of them, except for female voters.  Rossi only trails Murray among women by four points (45/49), while Didier trails by nine (43/52).  Both Republicans win overwhelmingly among voters under 40, with Rossi narrowly taking the 40s and coming in a virtual tie in the rest, while Didier has virtual ties in all age demos over 39 years of age.

Among independents, both Republicans do well.  Rossi gets a 60/29 split, while Didier gets 57/32.  Both hold roughly the same amount of Republicans and Democrats, so the big partisan question is whether independents will stay on board to vote against the incumbent with either Republican.  That seems pretty likely, since Murray’s favorables among indies is an anemic 34/64, which suggests that Didier’s outcome would be the floor rather than the ceiling for the GOP.  Rossi’s favorability among independents is 67/25, and Didier’s 49/23, with 28% unsure.

Even though Washington has a well-earned reputation for liberal support, the issue numbers tell a different story in 2010.  Majorities favor Arizona’s immigration law (53%) and oppose the DoJ lawsuit against AZ (56%).  The stimulus package that Murray supported doesn’t get any love, either, with 52% saying it didn’t stimulate job growth, and only 30% believing it did.  Fifty-eight percent want tax cuts to stimulate the economy, while only 28% support more government spending.  That doesn’t sound like Patty Murray country any longer, and in November, Washington may put Murray out to pasture.