With the August 2021 Top Two election now well and truly in the rearview mirror, and with Labor Day also having come and gone, the sprint to Washington State’s local general election is on as the summer season gives way to fall.
Candidates who survived the Top Two election or who got to skip it entirely due to having only one opponent now have just one month left to make their case to voters before ballots arrive in mailboxes across the state.
With the general election quickly drawing near, Crosscut and Elway Research have queried voters regarding their views on Seattle’s four citywide races, supplying fresh data to an electoral landscape that — with the notable exception of NPI and Change Research’s polling — has been bereft of credible, independent polling.
Here’s a quick rundown of each of their findings, followed by concluding thoughts.
The poll found Bruce Harrell ahead of Lorena Gonzalez, mirroring the result in the Top Two election. 42% of respondents backed Harrell, while 27% backed Gonzalez. About a quarter of respondents were not sure (24%).
In the Top Two election, Gonzalez started out well behind Harrell in the initial returns, but mostly closed the gap by the time the election was certified.
We could see a similar dynamic play out this fall.
Seattle City Attorney
Ann Davison, who ran as a Republican for Lieutenant Governor last year (but is now telling Seattleites she voted for Joe Biden as she seeks support in the general election) currently leads for Seattle City Attorney, despite having finished behind Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the Top Two. 26% of respondents expressed a preference for Davison, while 22% picked Thomas Kennedy. 45% were not sure.
In our polling back in July, Davison and Thomas-Kennedy were tied at 14% each and barely trailed incumbent City Attorney Pete Holmes. Both of them went on to surge past him, bringing his campaign for reelection to an end.
Seattle City Council Position #8 (At Large)
The poll found incumbent Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda in decent shape for reelection. Mosqueda cruised in the Top Two, vanquishing a large field of little-known challengers. She’ll be opposed in the general by bridge engineer Kenneth Martin, who flew past Kate Martin to claim the other spot in the Top Two.
However, although Mosqueda locked down almost 60% of the vote in the Top Two election, she didn’t fare nearly as well in Elway’s poll, which suggests some of her summer voters are not ready to commit to her candidacy yet for the final round. She received 33% in the poll, while Martin received 17%. 40% were not sure.
Seattle City Council Position #9 (At Large)
The poll found Fremont Brewing cofounder Sara Nelson ahead for the open council seat at 31%, with Nikkita Oliver close behind at 26%. 34% were not sure. Oliver led in our July 2021 poll, but was in second on Election Night. However, by the end of counting, they had moved past Nelson to claim the first place spot.
This is another race that seems likely to tighten. Oliver-Nelson definitely has the potential to be one of the more competitive race for city council in recent memory.
Elway Research surveyed four hundred likely Seattle voters for Crosscut/KCTS9 from September 7th-9th, 2021. (Likely in this case means voted in at least one general election in a local cycle in the last four years… 1 of 2017, or 2019). 97 respondents participated via landline with a live interviewer, 146 participants were interviewed via cellphone, and 158 took the survey via text message. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 5.0% at the 95% confidence interval.
Though Harrell, Davison, and Nelson all lead their respective races in this survey, it’s early and their opponents could easily eclipse them.
Ann Davison and Sara Nelson both led for stretches during the Top Two, only to watch as their opponents zipped past them to grab first place in the late ballots.
And Bruce Harrell, despite finishing first, saw much of his comfy lead over Lorena Gonzalez evaporate by the time certification rolled around.
Teresa Mosqueda is in a less competitive race, but cannot afford to be complacent, as the data suggests much of the support she got last month was lukewarm.
The Seattle Times previously endorsed Harrell, Davison, and Nelson, while The Stranger backed Mosqueda, Thomas-Kennedy, Gonzalez, and Oliver. We’ll see if the Times decides to get behind Martin for Position #8. If they do, that would put each publication behind a completely different slate of candidates for the general.
NPI doesn’t endorse candidates or take sides in candidate elections, but we will be doing another citywide survey of the Seattle electorate next month in partnership with Change Research. Those findings will be announced here on the Cascadia Advocate when they become available.