Senator Patty Murray speaks at the 2022 Washington State Democratic Convention
Senator Patty Murray delivers an address at the evening gala banquet of the 2022 Washington State Democratic Convention (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Repub­li­can PCOs and arm­chair pun­dits start gid­di­ly pre­dict defeat for Mur­ray in every com­ment thread that they can find.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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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2 replies on “Patty Murray up by twelve points in NPI statewide pollster’s latest Washington survey”

  1. I am a demo­c­rat who wants to keep updat­ed on lat­est cam­paign news. reports and infor­ma­tion. Thanks

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