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, October 31st, 2019

Elizabeth Warren is Donald Trump’s strongest challenger in Evergreen State, NPI poll finds

Of the three Democratic hopefuls currently considered most likely to secure the party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2020, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts does the best in a hypothetical matchup against Republican Donald Trump, a new NPI poll has found.

But only by a smidgen.

60% of Washingtonians surveyed by Public Policy Polling last week for the Northwest Progressive Institute said they would vote for Warren if the election were being held today and the candidates were Warren and Trump.

37% said they would vote for Trump, while 3% were not sure.

59% of those surveyed said they would vote for Biden if the candidates were Biden and Trump, while 58% said they would vote for Sanders if the candidates were Sanders and Trump. Against Biden and Sanders, Trump gets the same 37% he would get in the hypothetical matchup with Warren.

Notably, twice as many likely 2019 Washington State voters (6%) said they were undecided when asked about Sanders versus Trump than when they were asked about Warren or Biden versus Trump (3%). Sanders would still decisively defeat Donald Trump in a head to head matchup, however.

The main takeaway from these findings is that whoever is the Democratic nominee next year can expect to claim Washington State’s twelve electoral votes. Washington is not and will not be a battleground state.

Washington State has not supported the Republican nominee for President in decades. The state backed Ronald Reagan’s candidacy 1980 and 1984; since then, voters in Washington have consistently supported the Democratic nominee (Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton).

This is the second set of findings we have released from our recent survey of nine hundred likely 2019 Washington State voters, which was in the field from Tuesday, October 22nd through Wednesday, October 23rd. We previously released findings showing Washingtonians disapprove of Donald Trump and want him impeached.

The poll utilizes a blended methodology inclusive of cellphone only voters, with 53% of respondents participating via landline and 43% participating via text.

The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressive Institute, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% confidence level.

In a preceding survey conducted last May for NPI by PPP, 59% of respondents said they would vote for Trump’s unnamed Democratic challenger were the election being held today. That poll was also of likely 2019 Washington State voters.

Here’s our Warren versus Trump question and responses:

QUESTION: If the election for President were held today and the candidates were Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Donald Trump, who would you vote for?


  • Warren: 60%
  • Trump: 37%
  • Not sure: 3%

Here are the numbers by region:

QUESTION: If the election for President were held today and the candidates were Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Donald Trump, who would you vote for?


  • King County
    • Warren: 77%
    • Trump: 21%
    • Not sure: 2%
  • North Puget Sound
    • Warren: 49%
    • Trump: 45%
    • Not sure: 6%
  • South Sound
    • Warren: 53%
    • Trump: 43%
    • Not sure: 4%
  • Olympic Peninsula and Southwest Washington
    • Warren: 60%
    • Trump: 38%
    • Not sure: 2%
  • Eastern Washington
    • Warren: 48%
    • Trump: 50%
    • Not sure: 2%

We found it striking that in the Eastern Washington region, almost as many voters said they’d support Elizabeth Warren as Trump. Bernie Sanders also achieved 48% in his hypothetical matchup with Donald Trump in Eastern Washington, whereas Joe Biden got 43% to Trump’s 52% in Eastern Washington.

Biden performs just as well as Warren or Sanders in every other region of the state, but east of the Cascades, he loses to Trump instead of pulling almost even.

This disparity is evidence that the conventional wisdom held by many pundits about moving to the middle (or adopting “centrist” positions) is simply not a recipe for bolstering support for the Democratic Party in rural communities.

These numbers show us that Democrats have nothing to lose and everything to gain from selecting a progressive as their nominee instead of a neoliberal. A progressive nominee like Warren or Sanders can secure more support for the Democratic Party among rural voters than a neoliberal like Biden can.

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One Comment

  1. I have suspected for some time that the centrist arguments are flawed, this provides good evidence, at least for this area. I hope we can get more coverage of this to disprove (or prove) the claim in general.

    # by Randy Grein :: November 1st, 2019 at 12:33 PM

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