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

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

Poll Watch: Elway Research assesses Seattle’s citywide races one month before ballots drop

With the August 2021 Top Two elec­tion now well and tru­ly in the rearview mir­ror, and with Labor Day also hav­ing come and gone, the sprint to Wash­ing­ton State’s local gen­er­al elec­tion is on as the sum­mer sea­son gives way to fall.

Can­di­dates who sur­vived the Top Two elec­tion or who got to skip it entire­ly due to hav­ing only one oppo­nent now have just one month left to make their case to vot­ers before bal­lots arrive in mail­box­es across the state.

With the gen­er­al elec­tion quick­ly draw­ing near, Cross­cut and Elway Research have queried vot­ers regard­ing their views on Seat­tle’s four city­wide races, sup­ply­ing fresh data to an elec­toral land­scape that — with the notable excep­tion of NPI and Change Research’s polling — has been bereft of cred­i­ble, inde­pen­dent polling.

Here’s a quick run­down of each of their find­ings, fol­lowed by con­clud­ing thoughts.


The poll found Bruce Har­rell ahead of Lore­na Gon­za­lez, mir­ror­ing the result in the Top Two elec­tion. 42% of respon­dents backed Har­rell, while 27% backed Gon­za­lez. About a quar­ter of respon­dents were not sure (24%).

In the Top Two elec­tion, Gon­za­lez start­ed out well behind Har­rell in the ini­tial returns, but most­ly closed the gap by the time the elec­tion was certified.

We could see a sim­i­lar dynam­ic play out this fall.

Seattle City Attorney

Ann Davi­son, who ran as a Repub­li­can for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor last year (but is now telling Seat­tleites she vot­ed for Joe Biden as she seeks sup­port in the gen­er­al elec­tion) cur­rent­ly leads for Seat­tle City Attor­ney, despite hav­ing fin­ished behind Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in the Top Two. 26% of respon­dents expressed a pref­er­ence for Davi­son, while 22% picked Thomas Kennedy. 45% were not sure.

In our polling back in July, Davi­son and Thomas-Kennedy were tied at 14% each and bare­ly trailed incum­bent City Attor­ney Pete Holmes. Both of them went on to surge past him, bring­ing his cam­paign for reelec­tion to an end.

Seattle City Council Position #8 (At Large)

The poll found incum­bent Coun­cilmem­ber Tere­sa Mosque­da in decent shape for reelec­tion. Mosque­da cruised in the Top Two, van­quish­ing a large field of lit­tle-known chal­lengers. She’ll be opposed in the gen­er­al by bridge engi­neer Ken­neth Mar­tin, who flew past Kate Mar­tin to claim the oth­er spot in the Top Two.

How­ev­er, although Mosque­da locked down almost 60% of the vote in the Top Two elec­tion, she did­n’t fare near­ly as well in Elway’s poll, which sug­gests some of her sum­mer vot­ers are not ready to com­mit to her can­di­da­cy yet for the final round. She received 33% in the poll, while Mar­tin received 17%. 40% were not sure.

Seattle City Council Position #9 (At Large)

The poll found Fre­mont Brew­ing cofounder Sara Nel­son ahead for the open coun­cil seat at 31%, with Nikki­ta Oliv­er close behind at 26%. 34% were not sure. Oliv­er led in our July 2021 poll, but was in sec­ond on Elec­tion Night. How­ev­er, by the end of count­ing, they had moved past Nel­son to claim the first place spot.

This is anoth­er race that seems like­ly to tight­en. Oliv­er-Nel­son def­i­nite­ly has the poten­tial to be one of the more com­pet­i­tive race for city coun­cil in recent memory.

Poll methodology

Elway Research sur­veyed four hun­dred like­ly Seat­tle vot­ers for Crosscut/KCTS9 from Sep­tem­ber 7th-9th, 2021. (Like­ly in this case means vot­ed in at least one gen­er­al elec­tion in a local cycle in the last four years… 1 of 2017, or 2019). 97 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed via land­line with a live inter­view­er, 146 par­tic­i­pants were inter­viewed via cell­phone, and 158 took the sur­vey via text mes­sage. The poll has a mar­gin of error of +/- 5.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Concluding thoughts

Though Har­rell, Davi­son, and Nel­son all lead their respec­tive races in this sur­vey, it’s ear­ly and their oppo­nents could eas­i­ly eclipse them.

Ann Davi­son and Sara Nel­son both led for stretch­es dur­ing the Top Two, only to watch as their oppo­nents zipped past them to grab first place in the late ballots.

And Bruce Har­rell, despite fin­ish­ing first, saw much of his com­fy lead over Lore­na Gon­za­lez evap­o­rate by the time cer­ti­fi­ca­tion rolled around.

Tere­sa Mosque­da is in a less com­pet­i­tive race, but can­not afford to be com­pla­cent, as the data sug­gests much of the sup­port she got last month was lukewarm.

The Seat­tle Times pre­vi­ous­ly endorsed Har­rell, Davi­son, and Nel­son, while The Stranger backed Mosque­da, Thomas-Kennedy, Gon­za­lez, and Oliv­er. We’ll see if the Times decides to get behind Mar­tin for Posi­tion #8. If they do, that would put each pub­li­ca­tion behind a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent slate of can­di­dates for the general.

NPI does­n’t endorse can­di­dates or take sides in can­di­date elec­tions, but we will be doing anoth­er city­wide sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate next month in part­ner­ship with Change Research. Those find­ings will be announced here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate when they become available.

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