Washington State outlook and analysis for the 2022 midterms
Washington State outlook and analysis for the 2022 midterms

Although Don­ald Trump and mil­lions of Repub­li­cans still refuse to rec­og­nize Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris as the legit­i­mate­ly elect­ed Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, the GOP is nev­er­the­less behav­ing and oper­at­ing as the par­ty out of pow­er in our nation’s cap­i­tal, because that is the cur­rent reality.

Hav­ing cap­tured enough elec­toral votes to sweep Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence out of office, and hav­ing won two remark­able runoff elec­tions for the Unit­ed States Sen­ate in Geor­gia, Democ­rats have a frag­ile tri­fec­ta (con­trol of the pres­i­den­cy, House, and Sen­ate) for the first time since 2009, when Barack Oba­ma replaced George W. Bush as the coun­try’s forty-fourth president.

Despite their fix­a­tion on the last elec­tion, Repub­li­cans know there’s always anoth­er elec­tion right around the cor­ner, and they loud­ly claim every chance they get that they are des­tined to have con­trol of Con­gress once the votes have been count­ed in the 2022 midterms and new rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors seated.

The media has been ampli­fy­ing such talk, play­ing up Repub­li­cans’ chances of vic­to­ry and some­times char­ac­ter­iz­ing the midterms as a done deal, even though no votes have been cast yet. Repub­li­can oper­a­tives and reporters alike love to point out that the pres­i­den­t’s par­ty usu­al­ly los­es seats in a midterm cycle and that Democ­rats’ super slim majori­ties can’t absorb any net loss of seats.

Elec­toral his­to­ry, how­ev­er, can­not tell us what will hap­pen this year, only what has tran­spired in the past. It is worth not­ing that twice in the last thir­ty years, a pres­i­den­t’s par­ty has actu­al­ly gained seats in the midterms (in 1998 and 2002) and that is one of the pos­si­ble out­comes of these midterms.

Whether it’s plau­si­ble or not is a mat­ter of debate, but it is def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble — and Repub­li­cans know it. That’s why they are doing every­thing they pos­si­bly can to rig the midterms in their favor, includ­ing adopt­ing vot­er sup­pres­sion laws and ger­ry­man­dered maps in states where they have leg­isla­tive majorities.

If Repub­li­cans are des­tined to win no mat­ter what Democ­rats do this year, there would be no need to pass any vot­er sup­pres­sion schemes or ger­ry­man­dered maps. Clear­ly, Repub­li­cans do not believe their own talk, or they would not be fran­ti­cal­ly attempt­ing to manip­u­late the elec­toral land­scape in their favor.

Here in Wash­ing­ton State, Repub­li­cans aren’t in a posi­tion to stack the deck, so they will have to actu­al­ly com­pete for peo­ple’s votes to have any chance of dis­lodg­ing the Leg­is­la­ture’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties or recap­ture the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, which has been rep­re­sent­ed by Kim Schri­er since 2018.

Repub­li­cans believe they’re off to a good start this year. As proof, they cite a poll con­duct­ed by Elway Research for Cross­cut, which was released ear­ly this month and shows Pat­ty Mur­ray with only a three point lead over a gener­ic Repub­li­can oppo­nent, along with an iden­ti­cal spread in a gener­ic leg­isla­tive bal­lot question.

Poll­ster Stu­art Elway added fuel to that nar­ra­tive ear­li­er this week with a col­umn titled “Polling shows a Repub­li­can surge in Wash­ing­ton and beyond.”

“When the results came back for the most recent Crosscut/Elway Poll ear­li­er this month, the par­ty iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers caught my atten­tion,” Elway remarked in his open­ing para­graph. “The per­cent­age of respon­dents who iden­ti­fied as Repub­li­can had jumped ten points since last July to close the gap with Democ­rats, from eigh­teen per­cent­age points to sev­en. In the thir­ty years I have been mea­sur­ing par­ty iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in the state, it has been rare to see so large a shift.”

We had a very dif­fer­ent take­away from Elway’s survey.

When our team at NPI exam­ined the results, the first thing that jumped out at us was the U.S. Sen­ate race ques­tion and the results to that ques­tion, which were:

[Ques­tion text] One final top­ic: As you prob­a­bly know, there will be an elec­tion this year for US Sen­a­tor. As things stand today are you more like­ly to vote to return Pat­ty Mur­ray to the US Sen­ate or vote for a Repub­li­can to replace her?


  • 42%: Pat­ty Murray
  • 39%: Repub­li­can
  • 19%: Unde­cid­ed

These num­bers did not align with either our find­ing from just a few weeks pri­or or KING5/SurveyUSA’s find­ing from a poll that field­ed a few days before ours.

Our poll, which includ­ed a sam­ple of 909 like­ly midterm vot­ers, had found Mur­ray with a thir­teen point lead over Tiffany Smi­ley (50% / 37% / 13%), while KING5/SurveyUSA, using a sam­ple of 542 reg­is­tered vot­ers, had found Mur­ray with an eigh­teen point lead over Smi­ley (49% / 31% / 20%).

Although Smi­ley was not named in Elway’s ques­tion, Mur­ray was, and she per­formed worse in Elway’s poll than in either ours or SurveyUSA’s.

We start­ed exam­in­ing the pro­file of Elway’s sam­ple to see if there was any­thing that might explain the diver­gence in the findings.

And almost imme­di­ate­ly, sev­er­al num­bers jumped out at us.

First were the per­cent­ages of inter­viewed vot­ers who iden­ti­fied as Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans — a find­ing that Elway him­self took note of and wrote a col­umn about, as men­tioned above. And the oth­er was the per­cent­age of vot­ers between the ages of eigh­teen and thir­ty-four, the youngest age brack­et in the poll.

In each of our recent statewide polls and in Sur­veyUSA’s polls, the per­cent­age of respon­dents iden­ti­fy­ing as Democ­rats is about 40%. In our Novem­ber sur­vey, it was 40% and Sur­veyUSA’s late Octo­ber poll, it was 41%. But in Elway’s poll, the per­cent­age of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers in the sam­ple was just 35–36%. (The fig­ure 35% is shown at the top of the results file and 36% appears under­neath the question.)

When I asked Stu­art Elway about this, char­ac­ter­iz­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers as under­rep­re­sent­ed, he replied: “Par­ty ID is as much an atti­tude as a demo­graph­ic in Wash­ing­ton. We ask how peo­ple would reg­is­ter if par­ty reg­is­tra­tion were required, and we record what they say. The results bounce up and down. There is no way to def­i­nite­ly say that Democ­rats are underrepresented.”

While it is true that Wash­ing­ton does­n’t have par­ti­san vot­er reg­is­tra­tion and that results vary between polls, we can look at the 2020 pres­i­den­tial vote plus com­pare Elway’s polling to ours and Sur­veyUSA’s. On that basis, we think the argu­ment can be made that Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers were underrepresented.

We think Repub­li­cans may have like­wise been under­rep­re­sent­ed in July of 2021, along with Democ­rats, when Elway’s last statewide poll field­ed. In that poll, as Elway said, a mere 18% of respon­dents iden­ti­fied as Republican.

With 29% now iden­ti­fy­ing as Repub­li­can in Elway’s most recent sur­vey, he is talk­ing about a “surge.” But in our statewide polling, the per­cent­age of vot­ers iden­ti­fy­ing as Repub­li­can has been in the twen­ties this whole time:

  • Octo­ber 2020: 29% Republican
  • May 2021: 28% Republican
  • Novem­ber 2021: 24% Republican

That’s an aver­age of 27% iden­ti­fy­ing as Repub­li­can dur­ing and since the 2020 cycle. No dou­ble dig­it fluc­tu­a­tions. We know that the actu­al Repub­li­can elec­torate in Wash­ing­ton is sev­er­al per­cent­age points big­ger than this aver­age, because there are peo­ple who vote Repub­li­can despite pro­fess­ing to be an independent.

What about Sur­veyUSA’s polling? We see some­thing similar:

Per­cent­ages in the twen­ties and a five-point sea­son­al swing; aver­age of 25.5%.

It is impor­tant to note that when Elway asks about par­ty ID, he does­n’t ask respon­dents are you a Demo­c­rat, Repub­li­can, or inde­pen­dent. Instead, he asks: If you had to reg­is­ter by par­ty in order to vote, would you reg­is­ter as a…

Wash­ing­ton does­n’t have vot­er reg­is­tra­tion by par­ty and there is no cur­rent prospect of that chang­ing, so our team does­n’t see the point of word­ing a par­ty ID ques­tion this way. It’s a recipe for con­fu­sion and vot­er annoyance.

Elway’s results file says that 8% of the Decem­ber sam­ple did not even answer the ques­tion, while 13% of the July 2021 sam­ple gave no answer.

That’s real­ly problematic.

If our cri­tique is cor­rect, then there actu­al­ly has­n’t been a major increase in  Repub­li­can iden­ti­ty at all, and Elway’s premise about a surge is sim­ply wrong.

Let’s set aside par­ty ID and move on to age.

We do hap­pen to know for a fact the ages of Wash­ing­ton State’s 4,795,142 reg­is­tered vot­ers, and the Sec­re­tary of State very help­ful­ly main­tains a web page that says exact­ly how many vot­ers belong to each age brack­et.

The two youngest age brack­ets (18–24 and 25–34) col­lec­tive­ly cor­re­spond to the youngest age brack­et in Elway’s sur­vey (18–35).

We can there­fore eas­i­ly com­pare the per­cent­age of young vot­ers in Elway’s sur­vey to the per­cent­age of young vot­ers on the rolls.

If we add up the num­bers of each group of young vot­ers (last updat­ed Jan­u­ary 4th, 2022), we get 1,257,823. 1,257,823 out of 4,795,142 is 26.23%.

So, about a quar­ter or so of Elway’s respon­dents ought to be vot­ers in the youngest age brack­et (18–35). But guess what? Only 11% are.

That’s right. Just 11%.

Here’s the breakdown:

[Ques­tion text] I have just a few last ques­tions for our sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis. How old are you?

  • 11%: 18–35
  • 27%: 36–50
  • 30%: 51–34
  • 29%: 65+
  • 2%: [No Answer]

Again, 11%. That is less than half of the actu­al per­cent­age of young vot­ers on the rolls. Since this was a sur­vey of reg­is­tered vot­ers, not like­ly vot­ers, the sur­vey’s com­po­si­tion ought to look some­thing like the actu­al electorate.

And with respect to age, Elway’s sam­ple doesn’t.

Sur­veyUSA, on the oth­er hand, man­aged to build a sam­ple back in Novem­ber that had a rea­son­able per­cent­age of young vot­ers in it.

Here’s how theirs breaks down:

Com­po­si­tion of reg­is­tered voters

  • Vot­ers ages 18–34: 28% of the sample
  • Vot­ers ages 35–49: 25% of the sample
  • Vot­ers ages 50–64: 26% of the sample
  • Vot­ers ages 65+: 22% of the sample

In Elway’s sam­ple, vot­ers over fifty are 59% of the sam­ple (near­ly three-fifths!)

In Sur­veyUSA’s, vot­ers over fifty are 48% of the sam­ple (less than half.)

“The age find­ings were not sig­nif­i­cant­ly out of line with our his­toric find­ings,” Elway said when we cor­re­spond­ed. “The 18–35 brack­et was at the low end of nor­mal, but not the low­est we’ve seen. (I would rather under­es­ti­mate young vot­ers than over-esti­mate them – espe­cial­ly on a non-pres­i­den­tial year.)”

Elway’s sur­veys are usu­al­ly of reg­is­tered vot­ers, though, and this one was no excep­tion. So why is youth vot­er turnout a con­sid­er­a­tion? Those young vot­ers are on the rolls. They could, in the­o­ry, turn out. All they’d have to do is return the bal­lot mailed to them. Why are young vot­ers under­rep­re­sent­ed in Elway’s polls?

Here’s a quick primer on the dif­fer­ence between reg­is­tered vot­ers and like­ly vot­ers, cour­tesy of Gallup, which is a well known nation­al polling firm:

Reg­is­tered vot­ers are those who in response to a stan­dard poll ques­tion say they are “reg­is­tered to vote in their precinct or elec­tion dis­trict.” This is the group whose data Gallup reports most often because they rep­re­sent an esti­mate of Amer­i­cans who in the­o­ry are eli­gi­ble to vote and could vote if they want to.

Of course, Gallup knows that in the final analy­sis, not all of these reg­is­tered vot­ers will actu­al­ly vote. So Gallup has over the years cre­at­ed sys­tems to iso­late like­ly vot­ers — that group of indi­vid­u­als who the com­pa­ny can esti­mate are most like­ly to actu­al­ly vote.

Our own polls are usu­al­ly of like­ly vot­ers, not reg­is­tered vot­ers, and our state-lev­el poll­ster (Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling) uses dif­fer­ent age brack­ets than Sur­veyUSA or Elway. Still, it’s a fact that our last sur­vey of like­ly vot­ers had more young respon­dents in it than Elway’s sur­vey of reg­is­tered vot­ers. 11% of our respon­dents were in their teens or twen­ties and 25% were ages 30–45.

As pro­gram­mers like to say, bad inputs will yield bad out­puts. If a pol­l’s sam­ple is skewed, then the results are going to be skewed. That’s why build­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple is so impor­tant. And it’s why ask­ing neu­tral ques­tions is impor­tant (the answers you get will depend on the ques­tions you ask).

Elway Research is a respect­ed firm — as Stu­art Elway has said, 86% of its autumn/election sea­son polls between 1992 and 2010 cor­rect­ly fore­shad­owed sub­se­quent elec­tion results — but it has also put out clunkers.

In 2018, Elway polled in Wash­ing­ton’s 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict for Cross­cut and found Dino Rossi hand­i­ly lead­ing Kim Schri­er short­ly before vot­ing began.

“The com­plex­ion of the race for Washington’s piv­otal 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the last week, shad­ing from pur­ple toward red. What­ev­er razor-thin advan­tage Dr. Kim Schri­er may have enjoyed from elec­tion prog­nos­ti­ca­tors has evap­o­rat­ed in the wake of the con­tentious Supreme Court hear­ings, with Dino Rossi surg­ing to a ten point lead,” David Kro­man wrote for Cross­cut on Octo­ber 10th, 2018.

Elway’s find­ing was incon­sis­tent with a poll con­duct­ed two weeks pri­or for The New York Times, which found a one point advan­tage for Schri­er. Elway’s expla­na­tion for the incon­sis­ten­cy was to char­ac­ter­ize the race as “volatile.”

Was the race real­ly volatile, or was Elway’s poll an outlier?

The verac­i­ty of his WA-08 sur­vey was dis­cussed and debat­ed for sev­er­al weeks.

Then, at the end of Octo­ber, as vot­ing was wrap­ping up, the New York Times/Siena Col­lege polled WA-08 again and found a three point lead for Schri­er.

On Elec­tion Night, it quick­ly became evi­dent that Schri­er had prevailed.

Schri­er ini­tial­ly led Rossi by a six point spread, 52.94% to 47.06%, and most­ly kept that edge as count­ing went on. The final results were 52.42% for Schri­er and 47.58% for Rossi. Rossi received 148,968 votes and Schri­er 164,089 votes.

The near-record 2018 gen­er­al elec­tion turnout — which Elway had com­ment­ed to Kor­man could ben­e­fit Rossi — was not an advan­tage for the Repub­li­can. The offi­cial returns and the New York Times/Siena Col­lege polling (which tracked with the sub­se­quent results) demon­strat­ed that Elway’s WA-08 poll had been off-base.

As I have explained above, there’s rea­son to believe that Elway’s most recent polls are under­rep­re­sent­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic and young vot­ers, and that last sum­mer’s poll also under­rep­re­sent­ed Repub­li­can voters.

Sur­veyUSA and Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling are both rep­utable poll­sters cur­rent­ly grad­ed “A” and “A-” by FiveThir­tyEight, and their work for KING5 and NPI sug­gests a dif­fer­ent 2022 elec­toral land­scape than what Elway’s data suggests.

Pollster ratings from FiveThirtyEight
A por­tion of the list of poll­sters rat­ed by FiveThir­tyEight. Both NPI and KING5’s poll­sters are high­ly rat­ed. Elway used to be rat­ed “A,” but no longer has a let­ter grade because the firm does­n’t do enough polling to be grad­ed under FiveThir­tyEight’s revised stan­dards. (From the FiveThir­tyEight web­site, high­light­ing and anno­ta­tion by NPI)

Elway and oth­ers point out that nation­al polling aver­ages point out that Repub­li­cans have an advan­tage over Democ­rats right now, and that’s true.

How­ev­er, Wash­ing­ton is a most­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic state. Reg­u­lar­ly held elec­tions con­tin­ue to demon­strate this. Wash­ing­ton has­n’t vot­ed for a Repub­li­can for gov­er­nor, the U.S. Sen­ate, or the pres­i­den­cy in decades.

Since Wash­ing­ton is not a micro­cosm of the coun­try as a whole, we need state lev­el data to under­stand what is hap­pen­ing in state politics.

The most recent data we have, includ­ing our polling and Sur­veyUSA’s, sug­gest that the 2022 midterms could look more than 2018 here than 2010 or 2014 — at least with respect to statewide races, such as the con­test between Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray and Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smiley.

(Leg­isla­tive and con­gres­sion­al dis­trict lines are chang­ing due to redis­trict­ing, and dis­trict elec­toral dynam­ics are some­times quite dif­fer­ent than statewide ones.)

In 2010, mul­ti­ple spring­time polls found Rossi with a lead over Mur­ray, includ­ing one con­duct­ed by Sur­veyUSA and one by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton (UW). (Two oth­er UW polls con­duct­ed with­in the same month found Mur­ray leads.)

At the time, Sur­veyUSA com­ment­ed:

Like Oth­er Incum­bent Democ­rats Coast-to-Coast, US Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray In Trou­ble in Wash­ing­ton State: In hypo­thet­i­cal gen­er­al elec­tion matchups for Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor from Wash­ing­ton state today, 04/23/10, six months to the midterms, incum­bent Demo­c­rat Pat­ty Mur­ray does not poll above 46% against any of 6 pos­si­ble Repub­li­can oppo­nents, accord­ing to Sur­veyUSA research con­duct­ed for KING-TV Seat­tle. In 5 of 6 matchups, Mur­ray fin­ish­es nom­i­nal­ly ahead of the Repub­li­can, but with­in the the­o­ret­i­cal mar­gin of sam­pling error. In 1 matchup — against 2004 and 2008 guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Dino Rossi — Mur­ray los­es by 10 points, 52% to 42%.

Mur­ray, of course, went on to beat Rossi and secure reelec­tion, with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and then-Vice Pres­i­dent Biden mak­ing trips to the state to sup­port her.

Twelve years lat­er, Mur­ray is prepar­ing to face vot­ers again. This time, she’s in a much bet­ter ear­ly posi­tion. Mur­ray’s aver­age lead over Smi­ley in our polling (we asked about the U.S. Sen­ate race more than once last year) is not much dif­fer­ent from Maria Cantwell’s May 2018 dou­ble dig­it lead over Susan Hutchi­son — a polling lead that was borne out in the actu­al elec­tion results that year.

Mur­ray’s lead over Smi­ley is also near­ly iden­ti­cal to Democ­rats’ lead in the gener­ic con­gres­sion­al bal­lot ques­tion that PPP asked for us as part of our survey:

QUESTION: If the 2022 elec­tions for the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives were being held today, would you vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic or Repub­li­can can­di­date from your district?


  • Would vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date: 49%
  • Would vote for the Repub­li­can can­di­date: 37%
  • Not sure: 15%

Our sur­vey of 909 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, Novem­ber 10th through Thurs­day, Novem­ber 11th, 2021.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

More infor­ma­tion about the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

Where­as Repub­li­cans have an advan­tage nation­al­ly on the nation­al gener­ic bal­lot right now, Democ­rats have the advan­tage here in Wash­ing­ton State.

And it makes sense that they do. Our team sees no evi­dence that the minor polit­i­cal realign­ment in this state that was sparked by Don­ald Trump’s ugly, divi­sive cam­paign and sub­se­quent dis­as­trous pres­i­den­cy has melt­ed away.

Democ­rats are gov­ern­ing and get­ting at least some things done in tough polit­i­cal cir­cum­stances, while Repub­li­cans are strug­gling to con­nect with vot­ers because their par­ty is more of a cult nowa­days than a func­tion­ing polit­i­cal party.

Wash­ing­ton’s top leg­isla­tive Repub­li­cans (J.T. Wilcox and John Braun) have tried to por­tray their cau­cus­es as rea­son­able and solu­tions-ori­ent­ed, hop­ing to make the Repub­li­can brand more appeal­ing in the midterms, but even their ranks are brim­ming with Trump-wor­ship­ing extrem­ists, from Jim Walsh and Robert Suther­land in the House (the lat­ter of whom Wilcox is hop­ing to replace via an intra­party chal­lenge) to Phil For­tu­na­to and Mike Pad­den in the Senate.

Repub­li­cans reg­u­lar­ly express dis­plea­sure with Gov­er­nor Inslee and Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­isla­tive lead­er­ship, and argue they could do bet­ter. But it’s one thing to cri­tique those in pow­er and anoth­er to actu­al­ly gov­ern. Repub­li­cans have not explained how, if they were in charge, they would effec­tive­ly deal with COVID-19, or fix the state’s inequitable tax code, or improve access to hous­ing, or address cli­mate dam­age, or put a stop to police bru­tal­i­ty and misconduct.

If you pay atten­tion to what they say, as we do, you’ll most­ly hear them talk about what they are against as opposed to what they are for. They sim­ply haven’t offered Wash­ing­to­ni­ans a com­pelling rea­son to vote for them.

We know from decades of research that elec­tions turn on iden­ti­ty and trust. That’s no less true in high­ly polar­ized times. Peo­ple are ulti­mate­ly going to fill in the oval for who they iden­ti­fy with. They won’t be vot­ing on the basis of gas prices, or infla­tion con­cerns, or for­eign pol­i­cy, or some set of issue positions.

Cur­rent events and ide­ol­o­gy do mat­ter and do influ­ence peo­ple’s think­ing. They just aren’t the deci­sive fac­tors that dri­ve vot­ing behav­ior. Iden­ti­ty and trust are.

Unless Repub­li­cans can con­vince more Wash­ing­ton vot­ers to trust them, they are going to stay at a dis­ad­van­tage statewide and in a lot of cru­cial­ly impor­tant sub­ur­ban and exur­ban leg­isla­tive dis­tricts. And that would mean that they’re not going to have the kind of pick­ups they had in 2010 or 2014.

Because Democ­rats have most­ly run out of sub­ur­ban and exur­ban pick­up oppor­tu­ni­ties, the par­ty will pri­mar­i­ly be on defense this year, though it will try to go on offense in the redrawn 26th, 10th, 17th, and 42nd Leg­isla­tive Districts.

The stage seems set for a cycle with elec­tion results that will look more like the 2018 midterms than either 2010 or 2014 in Washington.

Now, with all that said, we are many months out from the August and Novem­ber 2022 elec­tions and there’s no guar­an­tee that Wash­ing­ton will stay on the tra­jec­to­ry that the 2021 polling dis­cussed here sug­gests we have been on.

And we may not even be on that tra­jec­to­ry anymore.

The polling data I cit­ed above (ours and KING5/SurveyUSA’s) is now sev­er­al months old. It’s a snap­shot in time, tak­en last autumn.

It would be use­ful, espe­cial­ly in the wake of the release of Elway’s win­ter poll, to have fresh data to ascer­tain if the elec­toral land­scape has changed.

That is why I’m glad we are cur­rent­ly prepar­ing to return to the field.

This year, NPI intends to poll statewide in Wash­ing­ton at a high­er fre­quen­cy than we ever have before. We will check in on every sin­gle statewide race sea­son­al­ly so we can get a bet­ter sense of the trends and dynam­ics in these midterms, and we will bring you our find­ings here on NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advocate.

As I said above, there are many pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios this year. We can­not know what is cer­tain. Past per­for­mance is not a guar­an­tee of future results.

We can try to guess what is plau­si­ble, but our guess­es can be wrong. It’s ben­e­fi­cial and healthy for us to admit that, and to keep an open mind.

When I asked Stu­art Elway if he antic­i­pat­ed a close race between Pat­ty Mur­ray and Tiffany Smi­ley this year, based on his pol­l’s find­ing, he offered this nuanced assess­ment: “Based on his­to­ry, I would not expect a tight U.S. Sen­ate race, but a lot of things have hap­pened recent­ly that I would not have expect­ed. Par­ty ID has a much stronger influ­ence in state races than it used to, and that is obvi­ous­ly more so ear­ly on and ver­sus a gener­ic par­ty candidate.”

That’s all true and well said.

Polit­i­cal analy­sis real­ly ben­e­fits from humil­i­ty, crit­i­cal think­ing, and discernment.

Repub­li­cans are hop­ing to win the 2022 midterms in part by cre­at­ing a self-ful­fill­ing prophe­cy… con­vinc­ing every­body they’ve won before­hand so that the like­li­hood they actu­al­ly do win will go up. They glad­ly wel­come the medi­a’s help in get­ting inside their oppo­nents’ heads. Reporters and com­men­ta­tors need to rec­og­nize that this game is being played and dis­cuss it in their coverage.

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.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Why the 2022 midterms in Washington State could look more like 2018 than 2010 or 2014”

Comments are closed.