Voter support for Initiative 940: Poll comparison

An ini­tia­tive that would require law enforce­ment to receive vio­lence de-esca­la­tion and men­tal-health train­ing in addi­tion to chang­ing the legal stan­dard for use of dead­ly force enjoys over­whelm­ing sup­port among vot­ers, a new poll has found.

De-Esca­late Wash­ing­ton, the coali­tion spear­head­ing the ini­tia­tive, announced today that it had com­mis­sioned EMC Research to gauge pub­lic sup­port for the mea­sure. EMC’s sur­vey of sev­en hun­dred and forty like­ly Wash­ing­ton vot­ers was in the field from Feb­ru­ary 8th-15th. The firm read the bal­lot title to respon­dents and found that 68% of like­ly vot­ers sup­port the mea­sure, while 21% are opposed.

The poll has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.6%.

NPI is a coali­tion mem­ber and has tak­en a posi­tion sup­port­ing Ini­tia­tive 940.

The coali­tion’s poll results are very sim­i­lar to NPI’s find­ings from June of 2017, when we also read the bal­lot title to vot­ers. This was the text of our question:

There may be an ini­tia­tive on next year’s bal­lot con­cern­ing law enforce­ment. The descrip­tion reads as fol­lows: This mea­sure would require law enforce­ment to receive vio­lence de-esca­la­tion, men­tal health, and first-aid train­ing, and pro­vide first-aid; and change stan­dards for use of dead­ly force, adding a “good faith” stan­dard and inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion. If this mea­sure were to appear on the 2018 statewide bal­lot, would you def­i­nite­ly vote in favor, prob­a­bly vote in favor, prob­a­bly vote against, or def­i­nite­ly vote against it?

Answers were as follows:

  • Yes: 69%
    • Def­i­nite­ly vote in favor: 45%
    • Prob­a­bly vote in favor: 24%
  • No: 28%
    • Prob­a­bly vote against: 14%
    • Def­i­nite­ly vote against: 14%
  • Unde­cid­ed: 2%

NPI’s sur­vey of 887 like­ly 2018 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from June 27th-28th, 2017; all respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed via land­line. Our poll has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

Here is a chart show­ing how the two sur­veys compare.

Voter support for Initiative 940: Poll comparison
Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman announced last month that Ini­tia­tive 940 had qual­i­fied as an ini­tia­tive to the Leg­is­la­ture for 2018.

The Leg­is­la­ture has three options:

  • Adopt I‑940, in which case it would become law;
  • Do noth­ing and let it go to the bal­lot for vot­ers to consider;
  • Send it to the Novem­ber 2018 bal­lot with an alternative.

The Sen­ate Law & Jus­tice Com­mit­tee and House Pub­lic Safe­ty Com­mit­tee will hold a joint hear­ing on the mea­sure tomor­row in Olympia at 7 PM.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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