NPI’s polling adds a little spice to Washington’s 2022 U.S. Senate race

Ten days ago, our team at NPI released our newest 2022 United States Senate poll finding, showing that the race between Democratic incumbent Patty Murray and Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley had narrowed slightly, with Smiley gaining ground since our last survey in November. Murray is holding steady at 50%, while Smiley improved to 41%, sending the race into single-digit territory.

After the release of our finding, both FiveThirtyEight and 270ToWin added it to their poll trackers, and it sparked threads on social networks like Reddit and Twitter.

Bonneville’s MYNorthwest then published an article about it:

A poll conducted last week found that incumbent Washington Senator Patty Murray’s lead over Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley has dwindled slightly since 2021.

The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI), comprised of 700 likely 2022 voters. Roughly 38% identified as Democrats, 38% identified as independent, and 24% identified as Republicans.

Of those surveyed, 50% said they would vote for Sen. Murray if the election were being held today, while 41% supported Smiley. Another 9% said they were not sure. In a previous pair of polls for the NPI conducted in 2021, Smiley received 37% of support, having now gained four points since then.

which was picked up by MaddowBlog:

* In the state of Washington, the latest Public Policy Polling survey shows Sen. Patty Murray ahead in her re-election campaign, but not by an overwhelming margin: The Democratic incumbent leads Republican Tiffany Smiley in the poll, 50 percent to 41 percent.

Citing our polling, Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed their rating of the contest from “Safe Democratic” to “Likely Democratic,” with J. Miles Coleman writing:

While the action in swing states — and districts — usually soaks up much of the attention, one of the telltale signs of a wave is that areas that are normally secure for one side start to feel less so. This year, Washington state, as was the case there in 2010, may be falling into the latter category.

Last week, a poll from Public Policy Polling that was done for the Northwest Progressive Institute showed Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) up by a 50%-41% margin over her likely general election opponent, Republican Tiffany Smiley. Perhaps significantly, while Murray has hovered around 50% in their last few surveys, Smiley gained 4 points since the group’s November poll, pushing the race into single-digit territory.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) used the rating change as fodder for a missive to the press that linked to our poll finding and crowed about Smiley gaining ground:

Last week, the U.S. Senate race in Washington State tightened as Republican senate hopeful Tiffany Smiley gains ground on 30-year Democrat Senator Patty Murray.

This is a clear sign that WA voters are rejecting Murray’s and the Democrats’ failing agenda.

And The Seattle Times mentioned the finding in a story about Smiley’s challenge to Murray:

The race was shifted from “safe Democratic” to “likely Democratic” last week by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the respected political analysis and handicapping newsletter published by the University of Virginia, which cited polling as well as Smiley’s “uplifting life story.”

A poll this month found Murray with 50% support to 41% for Smiley, with 9% undecided. The statewide poll of 700 likely 2022 voters was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute.

No other research or media organization is taking the temperature of Washington’s U.S. Senate race as frequently as NPI is. We plan to check in again on this and other contests in May.