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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.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

A close contest in WA-03: Marie Gluesenkamp Perez narrowly trails Joe Kent, NPI poll finds

Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gres­sion­al hope­ful Marie Glue­senkamp Perez is run­ning a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign against ultra MAGA Repub­li­can rival Joe Kent in Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict and is one of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s strongest con­tenders for an upset vic­to­ry in the 2022 midterms, a new poll con­duct­ed this week for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling suggests.

Only three per­cent­age points sep­a­rat­ed the can­di­dates in the sur­vey’s final head-to-head matchup, with Kent gar­ner­ing 47% and Glue­senkamp Perez 44%. 9% are not sure. Those fig­ures are almost iden­ti­cal to respons­es to the ini­tial head-to-head ques­tion, in which Kent got 48% and Glue­senkamp Perez got 44%.

Visualization of NPI's WA-03 final head-to-head poll finding

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s WA-03 final head-to-head poll finding

Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd is a solid­ly Repub­li­can dis­trict cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed by Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, whose reelec­tion cam­paign for a fifth term end­ed last month when a major­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers aban­doned her for sev­er­al MAGA rivals. One of those, Joe Kent, nabbed the sec­ond place spot for the gen­er­al elec­tion after late bal­lots were count­ed, buoyed by an endorse­ment from Don­ald Trump.

Glue­senkamp Perez, mean­while, fin­ished first among the nine can­di­dates with the unit­ed back­ing of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, ensur­ing that Democ­rats would not be with­out a stan­dard bear­er list­ed on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot like Repub­li­cans were in the 10th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict in 2020, in the Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor’s race that same year, and in this cycle’s spe­cial elec­tion for Sec­re­tary of State.

Her­rera Beut­ler is one of ten House Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Don­ald Trump after the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion, along with col­league Dan New­house from the adjoin­ing 4th. While New­house man­aged to dis­patch all of his ultra MAGA oppo­nents in the Top Two elec­tion (includ­ing the odi­ous Loren Culp), Her­rera Beut­ler was unable to hold off Kent despite a decent Elec­tion Night lead.

Now, Kent is the only Repub­li­can left standing.

His extreme posi­tions — sup­port for a nation­wide abor­tion ban with no excep­tions, admi­ra­tion for Vladimir Putin’s mur­der­ous regime in Moscow, unques­tion­ing loy­al­ty to Don­ald Trump, sol­i­dar­i­ty with the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion­ists, and enthu­si­asm for dis­man­tling the FBI — make him a dan­ger to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy in the eyes of pro­gres­sive Democ­rats and even some Republicans.

Glue­senkamp Perez, on the oth­er hand, sup­ports pol­i­cy direc­tions that most vot­ers in the 3rd Dis­trict sup­port. She may not be a Repub­li­can, but she has declared that she is build­ing a cam­paign that is inclu­sive and wel­comes the sup­port of Repub­li­cans who want effec­tive, hon­est, and eth­i­cal representation.

For Glue­senkamp Perez’s cam­paign to suc­ceed, she’ll need to gain the trust of at least some Repub­li­can vot­ers, because there aren’t enough Demo­c­ra­t­ic and true inde­pen­dent vot­ers resid­ing in the dis­trict to car­ry her to victory.

In its redrawn form, the 3rd vot­ed nar­row­ly for Don­ald Trump in 2020 along with Loren Culp for Gov­er­nor and Repub­li­cans for down­bal­lot offices like Trea­sur­er, Audi­tor, and Attor­ney Gen­er­al (all of whom lost statewide). Her­rera Beut­ler, mean­while, cap­tured 56.37% of the vote last cycle in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

A solid foundation to build on in the October homestretch

Despite being a late-declar­ing first time can­di­date who had prac­ti­cal­ly no name recog­ni­tion when she decid­ed to run for Con­gress in Feb­ru­ary, Glue­senkamp Perez is head­ing into Octo­ber in a posi­tion to seri­ous­ly con­tend. That much is evi­dent just from the ini­tial head-to-head ques­tion we asked of our respondents:

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Marie Glue­senkamp Perez or Repub­li­can Joe Kent?

ANSWERS:

  • Marie Glue­senkamp Perez: 44%
  • Joe Kent: 48%
  • Not sure: 9%

After the Top Two elec­tion (in which she received 31.01% of the vote), Glue­senkamp Perez’s cam­paign com­mis­sioned an inter­nal poll from Expe­di­tion Strate­gies to ascer­tain its posi­tion and chances of vic­to­ry in November.

The cam­paign released some of its find­ings ear­ly this month, report­ing that Expe­di­tion Strate­gies found Glue­senkamp Perez nar­row­ly ahead of Kent, 47% to 45%, “before vot­ers are primed with any addi­tion­al information.”

While our sur­vey did not find a lead for Glue­senkamp Perez like the cam­paign’s poll­ster did, we can con­firm that this is a com­pet­i­tive race.

Thanks to this project, we now have mul­ti­ple data points sug­gest­ing the can­di­dates are pret­ty close to each oth­er about a month before bal­lots drop, with each hav­ing more than forty per­cent sup­port but less than fifty percent.

The Expe­di­tion Strate­gies poll con­sist­ed of inter­views with 400 like­ly gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers sur­veyed August 25th-30th. It has a mar­gin of error of +/- 4.9%.

Our poll con­sist­ed of inter­views with 834 like­ly 2022 vot­ers who were sur­veyed from Sep­tem­ber 19th — 20th by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling. 50% par­tic­i­pat­ed via land­line and 50% par­tic­i­pat­ed online via invi­ta­tion sent through text mes­sag­ing. The sur­vey has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.4% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy, includ­ing a break­down of who took the poll, please see this project method­ol­o­gy ref­er­ence page.

Even more evidence: Gluesenkamp Perez is already outperforming the top of the ticket

Since the 3rd is a dis­trict with a Repub­li­can lean, Glue­senkamp Perez will need at least some Repub­li­can vot­ers to cross over and sup­port her, as mentioned.

Any­one who doubts that Glue­senkamp Perez can pull this off and become the first Demo­c­rat to win this dis­trict in more than a decade should con­sid­er that she’s already part of the way there. Reveal­ing­ly, our sur­vey shows that Glue­senkamp Perez is out­per­form­ing Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, the well known Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date in this cycle’s mar­quee top of the tick­et statewide con­test, while Joe Kent is sig­nif­i­cant­ly under­per­form­ing Mur­ray’s Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smiley.

Take a look:

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

ANSWERS:

  • Pat­ty Mur­ray: 42%
  • Tiffany Smi­ley: 53%
  • Not sure: 5%

Just to reit­er­ate: These per­cent­ages are for WA-03 only. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray has led Repub­li­can chal­lenger Tiffany Smi­ley in every statewide poll we’ve com­mis­sioned this elec­tion cycle, includ­ing our most recent poll in June of 2022. Mur­ray won the Top Two elec­tion and fin­ished eigh­teen points ahead of Smiley.

It’s a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence: Smi­ley has an eleven point lead over Mur­ray in the 3rd, but Glue­senkamp Perez starts out only four points behind Kent, thanks in part to sup­port from Repub­li­can-lean­ing vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as independent.

It’s also worth not­ing that more WA-03 vot­ers are unde­cid­ed about who they’ll sup­port in their dis­tric­t’s U.S. House race than the statewide U.S. Sen­ate race.

Reproductive rights: A key issue for Gluesenkamp Perez

Wash­ing­ton State has long had a rep­u­ta­tion as a bas­tion for repro­duc­tive rights with­in the Unit­ed States, hav­ing vot­ed decades ago to legal­ize abor­tion care. That’s not only true at the statewide lev­el, it’s true at the dis­trict lev­el, too, in most of the state’s ten con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. The 3rd is no exception.

We found sup­port both for the Wom­en’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose the Women’s Health Pro­tec­tion Act, which would give Amer­i­cans the legal right to deter­mine whether and when to end a preg­nan­cy, and to pro­tect a health care provider’s abil­i­ty to pro­vide repro­duc­tive health ser­vices, includ­ing abor­tion services?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 57% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 47%
    • Some­what sup­port: 10%
  • Oppose: 36%
    • Some­what oppose: 10%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 26%
  • Not sure: 7%

… and for Perez’s stat­ed posi­tion on repro­duc­tive rights:

QUESTION: Marie Glue­senkamp Perez says that if elect­ed, she will work to pro­tect abor­tion rights in Con­gress and will oppose those who seek to crim­i­nal­ize repro­duc­tive health­care. Joe Kent says he sup­ports a nation­al abor­tion ban with no excep­tions, includ­ing rape, incest, or the life of the moth­er. Which candidate’s posi­tion do you prefer?

ANSWERS:

  • Pre­fer Marie Glue­senkamp Perez’s posi­tion: 52%
  • Pre­fer Joe Ken­t’s posi­tion: 33%
  • Not sure: 14%

We think the above is one of the most impor­tant find­ings from this survey.

Glue­senkamp Perez’s most res­o­nant crit­i­cism of Joe Ken­t’s ultra MAGA can­di­da­cy might well be his unabashed, extreme, and dan­ger­ous posi­tion oppos­ing repro­duc­tive rights, which only a third of our respon­dents said they preferred.

3rd District voters also support the PRO Act, the For the People Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Our sur­vey also found that vot­ers in the 3rd are in agree­ment with Glue­senkamp Perez and the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty on a num­ber of oth­er issues.

For exam­ple, a major­i­ty of respon­dents back the PRO Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose amend­ing fed­er­al labor laws to give more work­ers cur­rent­ly clas­si­fied as con­trac­tors the right to col­lec­tive­ly bar­gain for high­er wages and bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, pre­vent employ­ers from hold­ing manda­to­ry meet­ings for the pur­pose of dis­cour­ag­ing their employ­ees from union­iz­ing, and tough­en penal­ties on com­pa­nies that retal­i­ate against work­ers who try to form a union?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 53% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 35%
    • Some­what sup­port: 18%
  • Oppose: 26%
    • Some­what oppose: 14%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 21%

… and key pro­vi­sions in the George Floyd Jus­tice in Polic­ing Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose cre­at­ing a new fed­er­al law to hold law enforce­ment account­able for mis­con­duct in court, require police depart­ments to report inap­pro­pri­ate use of force and racial pro­fil­ing inci­dents to a nation­al reg­istry, and reform police train­ing and poli­cies to make civil­ian-law enforce­ment inter­ac­tions safer?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 61% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 41%
    • Some­what sup­port: 20%
  • Oppose: 25%
    • Some­what oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 14%
  • Not sure: 14%

… and key pro­vi­sions in the For The Peo­ple Act:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose chang­ing the Unit­ed States’ elec­tion laws to expand vot­ing rights, change cam­paign finance rules to lessen the influ­ence of mon­ey in pol­i­tics, ban par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing, and cre­ate new ethics rules for fed­er­al officeholders?

ANSWERS:

  • Sup­port: 63% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 49%
    • Some­what sup­port: 14%
  • Oppose: 20%
    • Some­what oppose: 8%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 12%
  • Not sure: 17%

These find­ings are a good reminder that even Repub­li­can and Repub­li­can-lean­ing vot­ers sup­port pro­gres­sive ideas on a range of fronts, espe­cial­ly improv­ing pub­lic safe­ty and strength­en­ing our democracy.

Final thoughts: Democrats have an opening in WA-03 this year. Will they seize an opportunity to go on offense?

In both 2018 and 2020, Democ­rats sought to put WA-03 in play and oust Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler with Car­olyn Long. While those efforts were unsuc­cess­ful, this cycle has demon­strat­ed the truth of the old polit­i­cal adage that there’s always anoth­er elec­tion. It’s Sep­tem­ber 2022 and Her­rera Beut­ler is out… a vic­tim of the ultra MAGA purge of Repub­li­cans deemed insuf­fi­cient­ly loy­al to Don­ald Trump.

The con­test in WA-03 is now a race for an open seat. Democ­rats have a relat­able young can­di­date who owns a small busi­ness and is rais­ing a child with her hus­band in a rur­al part of the dis­trict, while the only Repub­li­can left on the bal­lot is a neo­fas­cist with a dark and dis­turb­ing agen­da for the country.

Has the 3rd ever seen two can­di­dates who are more unlike each other?

Because can­di­date elec­tions turn on iden­ti­ty and trust, it’s not enough that lots of Glue­senkamp Perez’s issue posi­tions mir­ror those of majori­ties of vot­ers in the dis­trict. She must with­stand an inevitable bar­rage of Repub­li­can attacks against her can­di­da­cy, and win the sup­port of vot­ers who don’t usu­al­ly vote Democratic.

Can she do it?

We won’t know until Novem­ber, but the num­bers from the final head-to-head ques­tion sug­gest she heads into Octo­ber with a resilient base of support.

Ear­li­er, you saw that Glue­senkamp Perez starts out at 44%, with Kent at 48%. Strik­ing­ly, in the final head-to-head ques­tion, Glue­senkamp Perez’s sup­port is unchanged, with Kent slip­ping a sin­gle per­cent­age point to 47% and the per­cent­age of unde­cid­ed vot­ers also unchanged:

QUESTION: Hav­ing heard more about the can­di­dates and their posi­tions, let me ask again: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive were being held today, would you vote for Demo­c­rat Marie Glue­senkamp Perez or Repub­li­can Joe Kent?

ANSWERS:

  • Marie Glue­senkamp Perez: 44%
  • Joe Kent: 47%
  • Not sure: 9%

The phrase Hav­ing heard more about the can­di­dates and their posi­tions refers to a sequence of ques­tions we asked con­cern­ing the can­di­dates’ posi­tions on issues (one of which is includ­ed above) as well as pub­lic state­ments they’ve made about each oth­er that we test­ed. We gave a selec­tion of each can­di­date’s crit­i­cisms of their oppo­nent an equal amount of space in our survey.

Notably, Ken­t’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Glue­senkamp Perez as “a rad­i­cal, pro-abor­tion extrem­ist who would be anoth­er reli­able vote for the Biden-Pelosi AOC agen­da…” (lan­guage we took from Ken­t’s cam­paign mate­ri­als) did­n’t put so much as a dent in Glue­senkamp Perez’s sup­port, as the last find­ing in the sequence shows.

The 44% who back Glue­senkamp Perez seem com­mit­ted to her can­di­da­cy. The vast major­i­ty of vot­ers who say they’d vote for Kent also seem pret­ty com­mit­ted. That leaves the unde­cid­ed vot­ers. If Glue­senkamp Perez can win over enough of them, she can win this very unusu­al con­test. It won’t be easy… but a Demo­c­ra­t­ic vic­to­ry in WA-03 this cycle is an achiev­able objective.

About NPI’s research

New Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­er? Wel­come! If you’re not famil­iar with the work of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute (NPI), you may be inter­est­ed in know­ing more about how we go about our research. Our polling is:

Cred­i­ble. NPI has ten years of expe­ri­ence com­mis­sion­ing pub­lic opin­ion research in the Pacif­ic North­west. We work with trust­ed poll­sters like Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling of North Car­oli­na and Change Research of Cal­i­for­nia that have a track record of excel­lence and are com­mit­ted to the sci­en­tif­ic method. We work extreme­ly hard to ask neu­tral ques­tions of rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ples so we can find out what peo­ple real­ly think about can­di­date elec­tions, bal­lot mea­sures, issues, and offi­cials’ job per­for­mance. Cut­ting cor­ners and stack­ing the deck is against our ethos.

Inde­pen­dent. We design our own sur­veys, writ­ing the ques­tions our­selves, and avoid rely­ing on a sin­gle indi­vid­ual or enti­ty to fund our research projects. We also do not endorse can­di­dates, give mon­ey to can­di­dates, par­tic­i­pate in inde­pen­dent expen­di­tures, or engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any candidate.

Accu­rate. Polls can’t pre­dict how elec­tions will turn out, but a prop­er­ly con­duct­ed poll can cre­ate an accu­rate snap­shot of pub­lic opin­ion at a crit­i­cal junc­ture in time, indi­cat­ing what might hap­pen. For example:

We wel­come com­ments, ques­tions, and media inquiries. Feel free to use our con­tact form to con­nect with us pri­vate­ly about this poll or any of our oth­er polls.

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