Democratic United States Senator Patty Murray continues to enjoy a double digit lead over Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley in Washington State’s 2022 U.S. Senate race, newly released polling suggests, indicating that Murray remains on track for reelection as we have consistently assessed throughout this cycle.
52% of seven hundred and seventy respondents interviewed by Public Policy Polling this week said they’d vote for Murray if the election were being held today, while 40% said they’d back Smiley. 8% were undecided.
These numbers are very similar to what Elway Research found last week and they’re also similar to the percentages we released back in June when our last statewide poll (which was conducted by PPP) fielded.
Public Policy Polling is one of two firms that NPI currently works with to carry out its public opinion research projects. While we did not commission this survey, the head-to-head question in it resembles the U.S. Senate horserace question that we ask when we have PPP field a statewide poll for us in Washington.
This is the sixth consecutive time this cycle that PPP has found Murray with a lead over Smiley that’s well beyond the margin of error, including the four statewide polls the firm has conducted on behalf of the Northwest Progressive Institute.
“We don’t see this as a particularly competitive race,” PPP’s Tom Jensen wrote in a tweet announcing the availability of the latest Murray/Smiley finding.
That’s because it’s not. Aside from not-credible polls conducted by Republican-aligned firms like Trafalgar, there isn’t any evidence that Tiffany Smiley is putting Washington State into play for the Republican Party.
That’s not stopping Republicans from claiming Murray is vulnerable, of course. They do it every six years. The usual series of events is:
- Top Senate Republicans (e.g. Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott) and their operatives look for a candidate to challenge Murray who is either well known or has the potential to raise a lot of money (or both), sometimes using the lure of making Washington a targeted state.
- Once they have a candidate, Republicans try to get the “Murray is vulnerable” mantra going through story pitches to reporters, opinion columns from Republican pundits such as Henry Olsen, FNC interviews, and in more recent cycles, posts on social networks.
- Republican-aligned pollsters spit out surveys suggesting that their candidate is close to Murray, which everyone associated with the Republican Party apparatus waves around ad nauseum.
- Republican PCOs and armchair pundits start giddily predict defeat for Murray in every comment thread that they can find.
- Republicans spend a ton of money attacking Murray on television, on the radio, in print, and online, especially in the final weeks leading up to the election, claiming she doesn’t do anything and has been there too long.
- Patty Murray wins reelection to a six-year term despite all of that because Washingtonians prefer her representation to the Republican candidate.
Rinse and repeat. Every six years, it’s the same thing.
What’s especially hilarious are the right wing trolls who show up here and in other places claiming that “liberals are panicking” about Murray’s reelection merely because we’re commenting on the not-credible polls and other tactics Republicans are trying to use to goad Democrats into fretting about Murray’s chances.
Our assessment remains the same as it was earlier this year and last year: Patty Murray is well positioned for reelection. She earned an outright majority of the vote last month against seventeen challengers, Smiley included, and ought to be able to repeat that feat in the coming general election. She is a seasoned campaigner who takes nothing for granted and works hard.
Tiffany Smiley’s team have noticed this. They complain on a very regular basis in emails to their list that they are being outraised, that Murray has the knives out for Smiley in her television ads, and that this really and truly could be the end of the road if you, Friend, don’t donate right now to Smiley’s campaign.
No Republican has been elected to the United States Senate in Washington State since the late Slade Gorton in 1994. Gorton, who decades later smartly recognized Trump for the fraud that he is, would go on to lose to Maria Cantwell by fewer than 2,000 votes in the 2000 U.S. Senate election, and become a lobbyist.
Not even the venerable Gorton was able to survive Washington’s transformation into a more reliably Democratic state twenty-two years ago, yet Republicans want us to believe that this year, a Republican is going to get elected to the United States Senate in Washington State… and not just any Republican, but an ultra MAGA candidate who opposes reproductive rights! While it’s true that pretty much anything is possible in life and politics, this is an improbable outcome, and no amount of polling created by Trafalgar is going to make it probable.