A majority of Washingtonians want to keep incumbent Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson on the job for a third term, a survey conducted for the Northwest Progressive Institute has found.
53% of likely Washington State voters surveyed last week for NPI by Public Policy Polling (PPP) said they’re voting for Ferguson, while 39% said they’re voting for Republican challenger Matt Larkin. 8% said they were not sure.
Back in the summer, Larkin beat out two other Republicans, including Mike Vaska and Brett Rogers, for the opportunity to take on Ferguson in the general election. Ferguson secured the support of 55.79% of Washingtonians in the August Top Two election, while Larkin got 23.67% of the vote.
The Washington State Republican Party inexplicably did not field a candidate against Ferguson at all in 2016, which resulted in Ferguson having a Libertarian opponent on the general election ballot. Ferguson won with 67.14% of the vote.
Now that Ferguson has a Republican opponent again (his first opponent for Attorney General was King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn in 2012), he can expect a closer race. But he’s still positioned to win reelection in a landslide.
Here are the numbers again, and the exact question we asked:
QUESTION: The 2020 candidates for Attorney General are Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Matt Larkin. Who are you voting for?
- Bob Ferguson: 53%
- Matt Larkin: 39%
- Not sure: 8%
Our survey of six hundred and ten likely 2020 Washington State voters was in the field from Wednesday, October 14th through Thursday, October 15th.
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 +/- 4.0% at the 95% confidence level.
Ferguson’s lawsuits against the Trump regime and dishonest initiative promoter Tim Eyman have made him a reviled figure in Republican circles. Democratic voters, on the other hand, love Ferguson. Most independents like him, too.
Ferguson is a stickler for the rule of law and for accountability, which Ferguson’s supporters say are extremely good attributes to have in an Attorney General.
Though Ferguson often makes the news for his legal challenges against Donald Trump’s White House and agency chiefs, it’s not his only focus. Ferguson has prioritized environmental protection and civil rights as Attorney General in addition to protecting Washingtonians from unscrupulous merchants.
Republicans say the Attorney General ought to be more focused on crime.
“While Bob Ferguson is focused on the wrong Washington, crime in Washington State is growing because local prosecutors are stretched too thin,” Larkin says in a statement posted on his campaign website.
Larkin’s statement cites data from the FBI for the Seattle metro area over a five period, 2013–2018, to buttress his claims. NPI has not verified this data.
However, Washington State is more than the Seattle metro, and it has been almost two years since 2018 ended. Statistics can be cherrypicked to support pretty much any narrative imaginable.
I opened the Crime In Washington 2019 Annual Report to see what the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs have to say about recent incidences of criminal activity in Washington.
I noticed the Statewide Crime Profile shows two key categories of crime as having seen less incidents reported, while a third category saw only a slight increase:
- In 2019, Crimes Against Persons showed an decrease of 2.9% with 95,294 offenses reported; compared to 2018 offenses reported of 98,092.
- In 2019, Crimes Against Property showed an decrease of 7.9% with 295,906 offenses reported; compared to 321,127 offenses reported in 2018.
- In 2019, Crimes Against Society showed an increase of 0.9% with 35,156 offenses reported; compared to 34,840 offenses reported in 2018.
The above statistics refer to “Group A” offenses — those are as follows:
Animal Cruelty, Arson, Assault Offenses, Bribery, Burglary, Counterfeiting/Forgery, Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property, Drug/Narcotic Offenses, Embezzlement, Extortion/Blackmail, Fraud Offenses, Gambling Offenses, Homicide Offenses, Human Trafficking Offenses, Kidnapping/Abduction, Larceny/Theft Offenses, Motor Vehicle Theft, Pornography/Obscene Material Offenses, Prostitution Offenses, Robbery, Sex Offenses, Non-Forcible Sex Offenses, Stolen Property Offenses, and Weapon Law Violations; in Washington State, an additional Group A offense is collected: Violation of No Contact/Protection/Anti-Harassment Order. Group A offenses include statistical data on the incident, all offenses committed, property involved, weapons involved, victim and offender demographics, arrest information, and clearance status.
In other words, major crimes.
(For Group B offenses, which include crimes like driving under the influence, bad checks, and disorderly conduct, only arrest data is collected.)
The above is only one slice of data, but it is for the state as a whole, it covers all of the most serious offenses, it is recent data, and it contradicts Larkin’s narrative that “crime in Washington State is growing”.
Ridiculously, Larkin is running television ads that emphasize his “law and order” theme while simultaneously supporting lawbreaker Donald Trump’s reelection.
Asked by The Seattle Times’ Jim Brunner (who is a first rate political reporter) to weigh in on Trump’s response to COVID-19, Larkin demurred.
“I don’t have a strong feeling,” he said. “If I were him, I would have worn a mask more. I’m not interested in the federal government. My focus is here.”
Larkin may not be interested in the federal government, but the people he wants to represent are. They disapprove of Donald Trump’s job performance by a large margin, and three out of five are voting for Joe Biden, according to our research.
There were twice as many voters who reported being undecided in the race for Attorney General as there were in the race for governor. However, there isn’t a “not sure” option on the ballot. Given that Ferguson secured over 55% of the vote in the August Top Two election, our team would not be surprised if he wins reelection this autumn with closer to 60% to the vote.
Voting in the 2020 presidential election is currently in progress and is set to conclude on November 3rd, 2020 at 8 PM Pacific in Washington State.