Washington State’s Democratic ticket is well positioned for victory in the 2020 presidential election, a new poll by SurveyUSA for KING5 has found.
With less than a month to go until voting ends, Governor Jay Inslee has a fourteen point lead over his Republican challenger Loren Culp, while Attorney General Bob Ferguson has an eleven point lead over his Republican challenger Matt Larkin. (Both Inslee and Ferguson are Democratic incumbents.) Meanwhile, in the contest for Lieutenant Governor, which has two Democratic finalists, U.S. Representative Denny Heck leads Senator Marko Liias by thirteen points.
The closest race by far is that of Secretary of State, which pits NPI’s Gael Tarleton against Republican incumbent Kim Wyman (who, like Inslee, and Ferguson, is seeking a third term). The survey found Wyman with a lead of just five points, which is smaller than her margin of victory in the August Top Two election.
Here are the numbers for each statewide executive race for comparison:
|Race||Currently Leading||Currently Trailing||Undecided|
|Governor||Jay Inslee: 54%||Loren Culp: 40%||6%|
|Lieutenant Governor||Denny Heck: 31%||Marko Liias: 18%||52%|
|Attorney General||Bob Ferguson: 49%||Matt Larkin: 38%||13%|
|Secretary of State||Kim Wyman: 45%||Gael Tarleton: 40%||14%|
SurveyUSA also found 55% support for Joe Biden and 34% support for Donald Trump in the presidential race. A similar percentage indicated support for Washington State’s comprehensive sexual health education law, which is on the ballot as Referendum 90. 52% said they would vote Approved, while 34% said they would vote Rejected. 14% said they were undecided.
The survey’s methodology was as follows:
The poll, which was conducted by SurveyUSA, surveyed 850 adults in Washington state from October 8th-12th. Of those adults, 591 were likely November voters, and 290 watched the gubernatorial debate. Poll respondents were representative of statewide demographics with 36% identifying as a Democrat, 24% as Republican and 29% as Independent. Half were from the metro Seattle area, one-third were from western Washington and 17% were from eastern Washington.
Previous SurveyUSA polls found Inslee with an even bigger lead over Culp, but those were conducted before Culp beat out a big field of Republicans for the opportunity to take on Inslee. With Culp now on the general election ballot, he’s consolidated the support of Republican and Republican leaning voters. However, that’s probably about the extent of the bump he’s going to get.
Only 6% of respondents say they are undecided in the gubernatorial race, and SurveyUSA found Inslee’s position to be about as good as that of Joe Biden’s.
Republicans love to fantasize about the prospect of a red tsunami in Washington State. But this is a pipe dream. Washington has not been a swing state in decades. There’s no data to support Caleb Heimlich’s claim that voters are just itching for the opportunity to put Republicans in charge of state government.
It is definitely possible for a Republican to win statewide in Washington, as Kim Wyman and her predecessors have proven, but only by attracting some support from Democratic and Democratic leaning voters who are willing to split a ticket. Wyman cannot win with just the Republican base, and she certainly knows it.
The rest of the Republican ticket seems to be campaigning under the illusion that Washington is a swing state up for grabs and open to electing candidates who openly espouse ardent right wing views. But it is not. Donald Trump did not carry Washington in 2016. Susan Hutchison did not carry Washington in 2018.
Republican losses in consequential statewide races actually predate the Trump error by several decades. The last Republican presidential candidate to win here was Ronald Reagan in 1984. The last Republican gubernatorial candidate to win here was John Spellman in 1980. And the last Republican senatorial candidate to win here was Slade Gorton in 1994. All are deceased: it’s been that long.
Republicans might wish to be on offense, but they are actually on defense.
While Democrats look poised to comfortably return their five executive incumbents to new terms (plus keep the Lieutenant Governor’s office in Democratic hands), the Republican Party’s two incumbents are in grave danger.
Again, the numbers bear this out.
State Treasurer Duane Davidson was handily beaten by Democratic challenger Mike Pellicciotti in the August Top Two election, and as mentioned, NPI’s Gael Tarleton is mounting a serious challenge to Kim Wyman. She’ll have to come from behind to win, but that was always going to be the case — Wyman is a two-term incumbent who has appeared on many statewide ballots, while Tarleton has not run outside of King County and the 36th Legislative District.
We don’t know what the future holds, but if we go by the data, then we can conclude there will be another blue wave as opposed to a red tsunami.
What’s harder to know is how big that blue wave will be.
We can say this: The only poll that will be determinative is the one that will be taken of the registered voters of Washington Stat until November 3rd.