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

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 fed­er­al can­di­date who had lit­tle 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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?


  • 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.

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.

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