NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Senator Maria Cantwell enjoys a robust lead over Susan Hutchison, new NPI poll finds

Maria Cantwell is well positioned to continue on in the United States Senate with seatmate Patty Murray for another six years, a new NPI poll has found.

Six hundred and seventy-five likely Washington State voters were asked earlier this week whether they would vote for Cantwell or probable Republican opponent Susan Hutchison were the election being held today. 52% said they would vote for Cantwell, while only 36% said Hutchison. 12% were not sure.

Hutchison is a former Republican State Party Chair who jumped into the race last week a mere hour and a half before the deadline. In a field packed with twenty-nine challengers to Cantwell, a dozen of whom identify as Republicans, Hutchison is easily the opponent with the most name recognition and the highest profile.

Last year, in June, an NPI poll of eight hundred and eighty-seven likely 2018 Washington State voters found Senator Cantwell with a thirteen point lead over former Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna in a hypothetical matchup. At the time Republicans had not found a candidate to challenge Cantwell, so NPI chose to pit McKenna against Cantwell to test a best-case scenario for Republicans.

As expected, Hutchison fares worse than McKenna.

QUESTION: If the election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Democrat Maria Cantwell and Republican Susan Hutchison, who would you vote for?


  • Maria Cantwell: 52%
  • Susan Hutchison: 36%
  • Not sure: 12%

Our survey of six hundred and seventy-five likely 2018 Washington State voters was in the field May 22nd-23rd, 2018. The survey used a blended methodology with automated phone calls to landlines and online interviews of cell phone only respondents. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for NPI, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8% at the 95% confidence level.

As we can see, Cantwell has a robust lead over Hutchison. Her level is support is practically identical to where it was last year, but the number of undecided voters is double the size of what we saw in the hypothetical matchup with McKenna.

We all know that elections can be unpredictable, and the only poll that truly matters wraps up on Election Day. However, looking back at Cantwell’s performance in past surveys suggests she will be extremely hard to beat in the November election.

Six years ago, when Cantwell last sought reelection, four surveys taken in the first seven months of 2012 consistently put her support at around 51%. Two were conducted by NPI’s pollster, while two were conducted by SurveyUSA.

PollsterDate of pollSampleMoECantwellBaumgartnerUndecided
Survey USAJanuary 12–16, 2012617±4.0%50%41%8%
Public Policy PollingFebruary 16–19, 20121,264±2.76%51%36%13%
Public Policy PollingJune 14–17, 20121,073±3.0%51%35%14%
Survey USAJuly 16–17, 2012630±4.0%51%40%9%

In her last campaign, Cantwell went on to win by a double-digit margin, securing 60.45% of the vote statewide, while Bumgartner obtained only 39.55%.

Democrats have consistently won U.S. Senate races in Washington State for over two decades, with 1994 being the last year the state elected a Republican.

“Senator Cantwell appears well positioned to earn another term representing Washingtonians in the U.S. Senate this year,” NPI’s founder and Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve said after the survey’s return from the field.

“In her last two campaigns, she dispatched her Republican opponents with ease. At this juncture, we have no reason to believe that Susan Hutchison will be a stronger challenger than either Mike McGavick or Michael Baumgartner.”

“Susan Hutchison’s deficit now, according to our research, is identical to Michael Baumgartner’s deficit at about this time in 2012 – it’s a sixteen point gap.”

“We know Senator Cantwell went on to secure her biggest victory ever just a few months later. With 2018 shaping up to be a wave year for Democrats, we’ll be curious to see if Senator Cantwell can top her showing from 2012, and attain a new personal best in a federal contest.”

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One Comment

  1. You can’t beat someone with no one. Elections should never be a shoe-in for anyone. That is why our system is so corrupt.

    # by Garry Allyn DeManty :: May 24th, 2018 at 5:16 PM

One Ping

  1. […] to poll leads she held back in 2012 when she ran against state Sen. Michael Baumgartner. Then, various early polls had her leading between 9 and 16 points, but she ultimately went on to win the race by over 20 […]