Joe Biden greets Maria Cantwell
Joe Biden greets United States Senator Maria Cantwell at a campaign event in October 2014 (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Pre­sump­tive 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden enjoys a twen­ty-two point lead over incum­bent Don­ald Trump in Wash­ing­ton and is on track to car­ry the Ever­green State in a land­slide this Novem­ber, a new sur­vey con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

59% of respon­dents sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling from Tues­day, May 19th to Wednes­day, May 20th, said they would vote for Biden this fall, while only 37% said they would vote for Trump. 5% said they were not sure.

Four years ago, when PPP asked Wash­ing­ton vot­ers about the pres­i­den­tial race on our behalf, only 49% said they would vote for pre­sump­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton, while 37% said they would vote for Trump. 13% were not sure.

Clin­ton went on to receive 54% of the pop­u­lar vote, while Trump received 38%.

This week’s find­ing mir­rors our find­ing from last autumn, when we found that Eliz­a­beth War­ren, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders would all do almost equal­ly well against Don­ald Trump. 60% expressed sup­port for War­ren in a head-to-head matchup against Trump, while 59% expressed sup­port for Biden and 58% expressed sup­port for Sanders if they were to face Trump.

(59% is also the per­cent­age of respon­dents who said they would vote for an unnamed Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger to Don­ald Trump in our May 2019 sur­vey.)

Half a year has now passed since our Octo­ber 2019 sur­vey, but Biden’s posi­tion in Wash­ing­ton State remains com­plete­ly unchanged. Also unchanged is Trump’s posi­tion. Note that in 2016, our poll found him at 37% against Clin­ton; this year’s sur­vey finds him at 37% against Biden. That is the exact same per­cent­age.

What that sug­gests is that Trump’s base is about the same size, per­cent­age wise, as it was in 2016; it has expe­ri­enced nei­ther net growth nor net shrinkage.

On the oth­er hand, the uni­verse of vot­ers aligned with Trump’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent has grown by about ten points from 2016 to 2020. That’s great news for the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, which is hop­ing for a big year.

Here are the statewide num­bers again, and the exact ques­tion we asked:

QUESTION: If the can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent this fall were Demo­c­rat Joe Biden and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, who would you vote for?


  • Joe Biden: 59%
  • Don­ald Trump: 37%
  • Not sure: 5%

Now, here are the num­bers by age, par­ty, and race/ethnicity:

QUESTION: If the can­di­dates for Pres­i­dent this fall were Demo­c­rat Joe Biden and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump, who would you vote for?


  • Age
    • 18 to 29: 59% for Biden, 31% for Trump, 10% not sure
    • 30 to 45: 64% for Biden, 31% for Trump, 5% not sure
    • 46 to 65: 58% for Biden, 38% for Trump; 4% not sure
    • 65 & old­er: 53% for Biden, 44% for Trump, 3% not sure
  • Par­ty
    • Demo­c­ra­t­ic: 94% for Biden, 4% for Trump, 1% not sure
    • Repub­li­can: 87% for Trump, 10% for Biden, 3% not sure
    • Inde­pen­dent: 52% for Biden, 38% for Trump, 10% not sure
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Hispanic/Latino
      • 66% for Biden
      • 34% for Trump
    • White
      • 57% for Biden
      • 39% for Trump
      • 4% not sure
    • Asian or Pacif­ic Islander 
      • 62% for Biden
      • 20% for Trump
      • 17% not sure
    • Black/African Amer­i­can
      • 81% for Biden
      • 4% for Trump
      • 15% not sure
    • Native Amer­i­can
      • 72% for Biden
      • 16% for Trump
      • 13% not sure
    • Oth­er
      • 63% for Biden
      • 34% for Trump
      • 3% not sure

Our sur­vey of 1,070 like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, May 19th through Wednes­day, May 20th, 2020.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respondents.

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

If Joe Biden car­ries Wash­ing­ton State by twen­ty-two points this Novem­ber, his mar­gin of vic­to­ry would sur­pass even that of Barack Oba­ma’s from 2008, which was one of the biggest Demo­c­ra­t­ic routs in Amer­i­can polit­i­cal history.

Here are the results of the pop­u­lar vote in Wash­ing­ton State for Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States going back six­ty years for comparison:

YearDemo­c­ra­t­ic Nominee%Repub­li­can Nominee%
2016Hillary Clin­ton54.30%Don­ald Trump38.07%
2012Barack Oba­ma56.16%Mitt Rom­ney41.29%
2008Barack Oba­ma57.34%John McCain40.26%
2004John Ker­ry52.82%George W. Bush45.64%
2000Al Gore50.13%George W. Bush44.56%
1996Bill Clin­ton49.84%Bob Dole37.30%
1992Bill Clin­ton43.41%George H.W. Bush31.97%
1988Michael Dukakis50.05%George H.W. Bush48.46%
1984Wal­ter Mondale42.86%Ronald Rea­gan55.82%
1980Jim­my Carter37.32%Ronald Rea­gan49.66%
1976Jim­my Carter46.11%Ger­ald Ford50.00%
1972George McGov­ern38.64%Richard Nixon56.92%
1968Hubert Humphrey47.23%Richard Nixon45.12%
1964Lyn­don B. Johnson61.97%Bar­ry Goldwater37.37%
1960John F. Kennedy48.27%Richard Nixon50.68%

We have to go all the way back to 1964 to find a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in which the mar­gin of the win­ning can­di­date’s pop­u­lar vote was greater than twen­ty points in Wash­ing­ton. That was the elec­tion in which Pres­i­dent Lyn­don Baines John­son, or LBJ, thor­ough­ly trounced Repub­li­can nom­i­nee Bar­ry Goldwater.

Our research has con­sis­tent­ly indi­cat­ed that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could be incred­i­bly his­toric. If Joe Biden wins Wash­ing­ton State by a big mar­gin, we could see a notice­able coat­tails effect that boosts the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s can­di­dates up and down the ballot.

Think blue wave, part two.

The par­ty has can­di­dates run­ning in every sin­gle leg­isla­tive dis­trict in the state, and it has strong chal­lengers tak­ing on three of the Repub­li­cans’ most promi­nent in-state office­hold­ers: U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman, and Trea­sur­er Duane David­son. Their expect­ed chal­lengers are Car­olyn Long, NPI’s Gael Tar­leton, and Mike Pel­lic­ciot­ti, respectively.

“Since 2016, we’ve seen a his­toric surge in com­mit­ment to pub­lic ser­vice across our state and I couldn’t be more proud of the can­di­dates we have run­ning in every leg­isla­tive dis­trict,” said Tina Pod­lodows­ki, Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, in a state­ment released after Fil­ing Week had concluded.

“This fall, vot­ers will have a chance to do more than reject the failed lead­er­ship of Don­ald Trump, they’ll have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to elect a new gen­er­a­tion of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers who they can trust to steer our state through the pub­lic health and eco­nom­ic cri­sis we’re fac­ing,” Pod­lodows­ki added.

Pod­lodowski’s coun­ter­part, Caleb Heim­lich, the Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, feels very dif­fer­ent­ly. He and his staff claim that vot­ers are tired of Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance, and they con­tin­u­al­ly talk of turn­ing Wash­ing­ton red.

“The stakes are high­er than ever this elec­tion and after years of unsus­tain­able bud­gets and tax increas­es on hard­work­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans, it’s our turn to fight back,” Heim­lich said in a May 14th mes­sage to the Repub­li­can Par­ty’s statewide email list. “After what Democ­rats did last ses­sion, vot­ers all across the state want to see real change, and that starts right at home in our local communities.”

The stakes are indeed high, but all the data we have sug­gests that a super­ma­jor­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers want more Demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance, not less. Don­ald Trump’s deeply cor­rupt, self-serv­ing regime just isn’t work­ing for them. How­ev­er, Jay Inslee’s data-dri­ven, sci­ence-ori­ent­ed, pub­lic health based lead­er­ship is.

COVID-19 and its fall­out will unques­tion­ably be the defin­ing issue of the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. But even before the pan­dem­ic hit, Biden and the Democ­rats were on a strong tra­jec­to­ry in Wash­ing­ton State. Our lat­est poll find­ing shows that the par­ty remains on that tra­jec­to­ry, even though our state’s eco­nom­ic health and social fab­ric have pro­found­ly changed with­in a mat­ter of weeks.

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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2 replies on “NPI poll finds Joe Biden on track for landslide Washington State win in November 2020”

  1. We activists need to give some sup­port to Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates in all the Repub­li­can-held con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. The 3rd (which should be flip­pable this year) is at the top of the list, but we should also pri­or­i­tize the 4th and 5th to some degree.

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