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.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

As voting begins in the 2021 Seattle mayoral race, Bruce Harrell has a sixteen point lead

For­mer Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Bruce Har­rell is head­ing into the final weeks of the 2021 Seat­tle may­oral cam­paign with a sub­stan­tial, dou­ble dig­it lead over cur­rent City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Lore­na González, a new poll con­duct­ed last week for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

48% of 617 like­ly 2021 vot­ers in Seat­tle said they were vot­ing for Har­rell for may­or, while 32% said they were vot­ing for González. 18% said they were not sure and 2% said they would not cast a vote for the city’s top elect­ed position.

Har­rell and González were the lead­ers in NPI’s July 2021 Top Two sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate. They pre­vailed in the August qual­i­fy­ing elec­tion, with Har­rell receiv­ing 34% and González 32.11%. In our sur­vey, which field­ed right before vot­ing began in July, Har­rell received 20% and González received 12%.

Unlike in our sum­mer polling, when vot­ers had fif­teen can­di­dates to choose from, the per­cent­age of unde­cid­ed vot­ers here is under a fifth. In fact, it’s half (18%) of what it was back in July (32%). Both can­di­dates have picked up vot­ers who were pre­vi­ous­ly uncom­mit­ted, but Har­rell has earned more sup­port than González. He’s close to the thresh­old of major­i­ty sup­port, while González is six­teen points back.

González did impres­sive­ly well in late bal­lots this sum­mer, cut­ting a ten point Elec­tion Night lead for Har­rell into a mere two point deficit by certification.

How­ev­er, our data sug­gests Har­rell has improved his posi­tion since then and is favored to win in Novem­ber, suc­ceed­ing incum­bent Jen­ny Durkan as Seat­tle’s next may­or. González does still have a path to vic­to­ry, but it’s a nar­row one.

Mayor of Seattle poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for May­or of Seat­tle, 2021

This new poll, which was con­duct­ed by Change Research for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for May­or of Seat­tle this year are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Bruce Har­rell: 44%
  • M. Lore­na González: 28%
  • Not sure: 28%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 67%
  • Bruce Har­rell: 13%
  • M. Lore­na González: 13%
  • Would not vote: 7%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Bruce Har­rell: 48%
  • M. Lore­na González: 32%
  • Not sure: 18%
  • Would not vote: 2%

As we saw in our sum­mer polling, Har­rel­l’s pri­ma­ry source of strength in this local elec­tion cycle is old­er vot­ers. A whop­ping 66% of those ages six­ty-five or old­er say they are vot­ing for him, while only 20% of that group say they’re vot­ing for González. Har­rell is also backed by 55% of vot­ers ages fifty to six­ty-four, while 24% of vot­ers in that age brack­et are sup­port­ing González.

Younger vot­ers, mean­while, strong­ly pre­fer González. 49% of vot­ers ages eigh­teen to thir­ty-four are sup­port­ing González and 30% are sup­port­ing Harrell.

Among vot­ers ages thir­ty-five to fifty, Har­rell has a nar­row­er advan­tage: 39% are sup­port­ing his can­di­da­cy and 37% are sup­port­ing González’s.

Peo­ple of col­or also pre­fer Har­rell to González. 56% of vot­ers of col­or say they are vot­ing for Har­rell, while just 30% say they are vot­ing for González.

Har­rell has con­sis­tent­ly led in pub­lic opin­ion research polling dur­ing this elec­tion cycle, includ­ing in two inde­pen­dent polls that were con­duct­ed last month, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that he has a lead in our final sur­vey of Seattle.

How­ev­er, Har­rel­l’s lead here is greater than in either of those polls (con­duct­ed for Crosscut/KCTS and Strate­gies 360), which sug­gests that he’s been able to solid­i­fy and expand his sup­port in the home stretch.

To over­come Har­rel­l’s cur­rent posi­tion, González’s team and her allies would need to per­suade the vast major­i­ty of vot­ers who are still unde­cid­ed to back her can­di­da­cy. They have two weeks left to make their pitch and close the gap.

Har­rell, mean­while, just needs a few more unde­cid­ed vot­ers to join those already com­mit­ted to his can­di­da­cy, and he’ll have the sup­port he needs to win this race.

Har­rell pre­vi­ous­ly served as may­or for a few days four years ago and was a can­di­date for May­or of Seat­tle in 2013, plac­ing fourth in the Top Two elec­tion. He was first elect­ed to the Seat­tle City Coun­cil in 2007 and was reelect­ed in 2011 and 2015. He left the Coun­cil at the end of 2019 rather than seek anoth­er term in a rematch with his 2015 oppo­nent Tam­my Morales. (Morales is now on the Council.)

González has won two city­wide elec­tions for Seat­tle City Coun­cil by enor­mous mar­gins, defeat­ing rivals Bill Brad­burd in 2015 and Pat Muraka­mi in 2017. (Coun­cilmem­bers nor­mal­ly serve four year terms, but González had to run again due to Seat­tle’s 2013 adop­tion of a new hybrid scheme for coun­cil elec­tions, which cre­at­ed sev­en dis­trict-based posi­tions while keep­ing two at-large positions.)

González explored a bid for Attor­ney Gen­er­al of Wash­ing­ton State in 2019, but did not move for­ward with a 2020 cam­paign after incum­bent Bob Fer­gu­son chose to seek a third term as the state’s top law enforce­ment offi­cer, fol­low­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s deci­sion to seek a third term as the state’s chief executive.

In addi­tion to each hav­ing served on the Seat­tle City Coun­cil — includ­ing with each oth­er — both Har­rell and González are expe­ri­enced attor­neys. Seat­tle Times reporter Daniel Beek­man wrote about their legal work last month as part of a series of excel­lent pro­files he’s been cre­at­ing for this year’s may­oral race.

NPI’s Ruairi Vaugh­an pre­vi­ous­ly inter­viewed Har­rell and González about their cam­paigns and visions for Seat­tle’s future. You can read the inter­view with Har­rell by fol­low­ing this link and the inter­view with González by fol­low­ing this link.

González is backed by the city’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict orga­ni­za­tions, unions like UFCW Local 21, UNITE HERE Local 8, and SEIU 775NW, as well as The Stranger, The Urban­ist, and Seat­tle Sub­way. Har­rell is backed by sev­er­al busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions, unions like the Seat­tle Fire­fight­ers, sev­er­al IBEW locals, and Amal­ga­mat­ed Tran­sit Union Local 587, as well as The Seat­tle Times, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Demo­c­ra­t­ic Club, and Democ­rats for Diver­si­ty and Inclusion.

NPI board­mem­ber Gael Tar­leton has endorsed Har­rell, while NPI board­mem­ber Jacob Thor­pe has endorsed González. (Both reside in Seattle.)

NPI is not aligned with either Har­rell or González and does not have an endorse­ment in the Seat­tle may­oral race, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing either candidate.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

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2 Pings

  1. […] mod­er­ate (though still pret­ty lib­er­al) posi­tions in this race, too, and he led González in the most recent poll, 48 per­cent to 32 per­cent. González also stum­bled in the home stretch when she put out an ad in […]

  2. […] and led in every inde­pen­dent poll lead­ing up to the cur­rent gen­er­al elec­tion, includ­ing the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s Octo­ber 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tl…. 48% of respon­dents to our sur­vey, con­duct­ed for NPI by Change Research, said they were […]

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