NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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, June 2nd, 2022

Senator Patty Murray regains double digit lead over Republican opponent Tiffany Smiley

Wash­ing­ton State’s senior Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray has reestab­lished a dou­ble dig­it lead over her Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley with two months to go until the dead­line to return bal­lots in the August 2022 Top Two elec­tion, NPI’s most recent statewide sur­vey of the Wash­ing­ton State elec­torate has found.

51% of 1,039 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers said they would vote for Mur­ray if the elec­tion were being held today, while 40% said they would vote for Smi­ley, Mur­ray’s like­ly gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent. 8% were not sure.

June 2022: Patty Murray vs. Tiffany Smiley, 2022

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s June 2022 poll find­ing show­ing Pat­ty Mur­ray with an eleven point lead over Tiffany Smiley

In Feb­ru­ary 2022, Mur­ray’s lead stood at nine points, down from thir­teen back in Novem­ber of 2021 and six­teen points one year ago (May 2021). Now it’s eleven points. That means Mur­ray’s advan­tage is once again in the dou­ble digits.

In each of our statewide sur­veys this cycle, Mur­ray has received sup­port of fifty per­cent or greater. This con­sis­tent major­i­ty sup­port indi­cates, as I’ve pre­vi­ous­ly writ­ten here, that Mur­ray is well posi­tioned for reelec­tion. Tiffany Smi­ley has excit­ed the Repub­li­can base and raised a lot of mon­ey, but has not suc­ceed­ed in putting Wash­ing­ton State in play for the Repub­li­can Par­ty this cycle.

Repub­li­cans have a long his­to­ry of incor­rect­ly insist­ing that Mur­ray is vulnerable:

  • They argued Mur­ray was vul­ner­a­ble in 1998, when they recruit­ed Lin­da Smith to run against her. Mur­ray won reelection.
  • They argued Mur­ray was vul­ner­a­ble in 2004, when they recruit­ed George Nether­cutt to run against her. Mur­ray won reelection.
  • And they argued Mur­ray was vul­ner­a­ble in 2010, when they recruit­ed Dino Rossi to run against her. As before, Mur­ray won reelection.

Repub­li­cans made less of an effort to chal­lenge Mur­ray dur­ing her most recent cam­paign six years ago, when Chris Vance was her gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent (Vance has since left the Repub­li­can Par­ty), but this year, they seem to be back at it, with D.C. Repub­li­cans like Hen­ry Olsen pro­mot­ing Smi­ley as a dark horse.

Our team does­n’t see an open­ing for Smi­ley. Wash­ing­ton is a reli­ably Demo­c­ra­t­ic state that has not elect­ed a Repub­li­can to the U.S. Sen­ate since 1994, and there’s no sign of that chang­ing this year. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans may be frus­trat­ed by Capi­tol Hill grid­lock and inac­tion on impor­tant issues, but that does­n’t mean they want to be rep­re­sent­ed by a Repub­li­can who’ll do Mitch McConnel­l’s bidding.

In just a few weeks, Wash­ing­ton vot­ers will start receiv­ing bal­lots and it will be time to vote in the ini­tial round of Wash­ing­ton’s two part gen­er­al election.

For Smi­ley to make this a real race, she’d need to be gain­ing ground — and our lat­est sur­vey indi­cates she isn’t doing that. Instead, Smi­ley’s stalled out, despite Repub­li­can claims that the nation­al envi­ron­ment is dete­ri­o­rat­ing for Democrats.

Here’s the full text of the ques­tion we asked, and the answers we received:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Pat­ty Mur­ray and Repub­li­can Tiffany Smi­ley, who would you vote for?


  • Pat­ty Mur­ray: 51%
  • Tiffany Smi­ley: 40%
  • Not sure: 8%

Our sur­vey of 1,039 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, June 1st through today, Thurs­day, June 2nd, 2022.

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 +/- 3.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

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

Mur­ray’s approval rat­ing is also vir­tu­al­ly unchanged from February:

QUESTION: Do you approve or dis­ap­prove of Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray’s job performance?


  • Approve: 45%
  • Dis­ap­prove: 42%
  • Not sure: 12%

Mur­ray’s approval was 46% in Feb­ru­ary, with 42% dis­ap­prov­ing; now it’s 45% who approve and 42% who dis­ap­prove. Sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, that’s the same result.

As I often say when we release new polling data, this find­ing is a snap­shot in time. Elec­toral dynam­ics can change. Polls can­not pre­dict what will hap­pen, they just make it eas­i­er to get a sense of what could hap­pen and is most like­ly to hap­pen. The most like­ly out­come in this race, based on NPI’s research and oth­er avail­able pub­lic opin­ion polling (includ­ing sur­veys done by KING5/SurveyUSA) is anoth­er suc­cess­ful reelec­tion for Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray.

Again, as the chart below makes clear, Pat­ty Mur­ray has nev­er received less than fifty per­cent in our polling and has nev­er trailed Smi­ley. In con­trast, when for­mer state Sen­a­tor Dino Rossi declared that he was chal­leng­ing Mur­ray in 2020, some polls showed him ahead. That has not been the case this time around.

In just two months’ time, we’ll have actu­al ini­tial elec­tion results to study instead of just polling, which will be illu­mi­nat­ing. We plan to poll this race one more time, in Octo­ber, which will be the fifth time that we will have checked in with vot­ers about their pref­er­ences for U.S. Sen­ate this cycle. We look for­ward to bring­ing you that find­ing dur­ing the final weeks of these midterm elections.

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  1. That’s too bad Pat­ty Mur­ray is ahead. I have not agreed with the way she rep­re­sents our state or country.

    Edi­tor’s Note: In the inter­est of read­abil­i­ty, this com­ment has been edit­ed to cor­rect mul­ti­ple mis­spelled words.

    # by Eric A. :: June 2nd, 2022 at 3:55 PM
  2. Is NPI an advo­ca­cy group or a newspaper?

    # by Mark Bell :: June 10th, 2022 at 4:51 PM
    • NPI is both an advo­ca­cy and a media orga­ni­za­tion, as our About page explains.

      # by Andrew Villeneuve :: June 14th, 2022 at 1:20 PM

3 Pings

  1. […] has reg­u­lar­ly hired Demo­c­ra­t­ic poll­ster Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling to test Wash­ing­ton’s Sen­ate race, once again finds Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen. Pat­ty Mur­ray com­fort­ably lead­ing her like­ly Repub­li­can oppo­nent, motivational […]

  2. […] Pat­ty Mur­ray also appears to ben­e­fit­ing from increased enthu­si­asm for Democ­rats. As we report­ed last week, Mur­ray has widened her lead over like­ly Repub­li­can oppo­nent Ti…. It’s the first time this cycle that Mur­ray’s lead has widened between two of our statewide […]

  3. […] — a four-point shift in Democ­rats’ favor — along with our find­ings regard­ing the U.S. Sen­ate race and the con­gres­sion­al gener­ic bal­lot sug­gests that enthu­si­asm is build­ing for […]

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