Respected public opinion research firm Public Policy Polling has just published the results of a poll it recently conducted in Washington on 2016 races and voter attitudes towards background checks on gun sales, marijuana, and marriage freedom. It finds that both Governor Jay Inslee and Senator Patty Murray are in excellent shape for reelection, leading all potential Republican opponents.
The poll (PDF) surveyed eight hundred and seventy-nine registered voters from May 14th to May 17th, yielding a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%. 80% of interviews were conducted over the phone and 20% were interviewed over the Internet to reach respondents without landline phones.
PPP found that both Bill Bryant and Andy Hill have very low statewide recognition. Most voters surveyed didn’t know enough about either to give an opinion. Voters are split about equally on Inslee’s job performance, with 41% saying they approve and 42% saying they disapprove (a statistical tie).
Asked to choose between Inslee and Bryant, 46% said they would pick Inslee and 34% said they would pick Bryant.
Interestingly, Hill fared even worse. 45% said they would pick Inslee in an Inslee-Hill race, while only 31% said they would pick Hill.
Congressman Dave Reichert has better name recognition than Bryant or Hill, but does only as well as Bryant against Inslee, garnering 34% to Inslee’s 45%.
PPP also tested a McKenna/Inslee matchup for 2016. McKenna does better than Hill or Bryant in a hypothetical rematch, but still trails Inslee by five points (43% to 38%), which PPP points out is more than he lost by in 2012.
Patty Murray, meanwhile, is in good shape too, with 47% approving of her job performance to 39% who don’t approve. Murray beats out Dave Reichert, Jaime Herrera-Beutler, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers by more than ten points each. Perhaps not surprisingly, she does the best against McMorris Rodgers.
In a hypothetical matchup with Rob McKenna for U.S. Senate, Murray prevails by five points (46% to 41%) over the former Attorney General, just like Inslee.
While this polling suggests that McKenna would be the strongest candidate the Republicans could field in 2016 for either governor or U.S. senator, it doesn’t appear that he is interested in either race. Republicans might want him to step up to the plate again, but he may have no desire to end up as the next Dino Rossi, which is understandable. Bryant is already running against Inslee, with Hill soon to join him, but Republicans still need to find a candidate to challenge Murray.
It’ll be hard to find someone who can beat Michael Baumgartner’s anemic numbers from 2012 against Maria Cantwell, considering how thin the party’s bench is.
PPP also found that Washington voters feel very good about their recent decisions to legalize marijuana, require universal background checks on gun sales, and allow all couples to marry regardless of sexual orientation.
56% of respondents support marriage equality and marijuana legalization, while 68% of voters support universal background checks on gun sales.