Visualization of NPI's March 2023 U.S. Senate poll finding
Visualization of NPI's March 2023 U.S. Senate poll finding (NPI graphic)

Next year, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell of Wash­ing­ton will be run­ning for a fifth term as one of the Ever­green State’s two votes and voic­es in the world’s most delib­er­a­tive body. Nation­al and state Repub­li­cans haven’t yet recruit­ed an oppo­nent for Cantwell yet, but NPI’s polling this month finds that if that oppo­nent were for­mer Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, a col­league of Cantwell’s for over a decade, Cantwell would win very eas­i­ly, which sug­gests that Wash­ing­ton will not be a Sen­ate bat­tle­ground state in 2024.

Asked whether they would pre­fer Cantwell or Her­rera Beut­ler if the 2024 U.S. Sen­ate elec­tion were being held now, 50% of 874 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers picked Cantwell, while 35% picked Her­rera Beut­ler. Anoth­er 14% were not sure.

Visualization of NPI's March 2023 U.S. Senate poll finding
Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s March 2023 U.S. Sen­ate poll find­ing (NPI graphic)

Her­rera Beut­ler’s per­cent­age exact­ly match­es the per­cent­age of vot­ers who said they would vote for Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier if he were a can­di­date for gov­er­nor. (Dammeier is not run­ning and has absolute­ly no inten­tion of run­ning, a posi­tion he made clear to The Seat­tle Times’ Jim Brun­ner last Fri­day.)

35% is also very sim­i­lar to the per­cent­age we found Repub­li­can Susan Hutchi­son at around five months before the 2018 midterms, the last time that Cantwell was up. Cantwell went on to win by about that same mar­gin, with Democ­rats also cap­tur­ing the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict for the first time with Kim Schri­er that year. (Schri­er was reelect­ed in 2020 and 2022.)

Her­rera Beut­ler, forty-four, was a mem­ber of Wash­ing­ton’s fed­er­al con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion, rep­re­sent­ing the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict (South­west Wash­ing­ton) from 2011 until the begin­ning of this year. She was oust­ed in the August 2022 Top Two elec­tion by Repub­li­can vot­ers angry with her vote to impeach Don­ald Trump for incit­ing the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion against the Unit­ed States.

The 3rd is now rep­re­sent­ed by Con­gress­woman Marie Glue­senkamp Perez (D), who defeat­ed mil­i­tant extrem­ist Joe Kent in the gen­er­al elec­tion by less than 3,000 votes, in one of the most impor­tant elec­toral vic­to­ries in state history.

Her­rera Beut­ler is said to be pon­der­ing run­ning for her old seat, but she’s also being talked about as a can­di­date for high­er office in Repub­li­can circles.

How­ev­er, our research sug­gests she would not be a for­mi­da­ble oppo­nent for Maria Cantwell. In our polling, since 2016, 35% — 37% is basi­cal­ly the floor for a Repub­li­can statewide can­di­date in a con­test for a major statewide office in Wash­ing­ton. In oth­er words, it’s approx­i­mate­ly what any Repub­li­can can get, whether that Repub­li­can is Don­ald Trump or some­body else. If Her­rera Beut­ler were a com­pelling can­di­date, she’d poll high­er than the mid-thir­ties. But she doesn’t.

All the more rea­son for her to take a pass on this race.

Here’s the ques­tion we asked and the answers we received:

QUESTION: If the 2024 gen­er­al elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Maria Cantwell and Repub­li­can Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, who would you vote for?


  • Maria Cantwell (D): 50%
  • Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler (R): 35%
  • Not sure: 14%

Our sur­vey of 874 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, March 7th through Wednes­day, March 8th, 2023.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and online answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Cantwell has the sup­port of about nine of ten Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers, 7% of Repub­li­can vot­ers, and 36% of inde­pen­dent voters.

Her­rera Beut­ler has the sup­port of a lit­tle over eight out of ten Repub­li­can vot­ers, 4% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers, and 37% of inde­pen­dents. 27% of inde­pen­dents are not sure, ver­sus 10% of Repub­li­cans and 7% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic voters.

Cantwell leads Her­rera Beut­ler in every region of the state except for East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, where Her­rera Beut­ler has 52% and Cantwell has 38%. King Coun­ty vot­ers are enthu­si­as­tic about Cantwell, with 64% of them ready to sup­port Cantwell’s reelec­tion and only 21% sup­port­ing Her­rera Beutler.

The 2024 Unit­ed States Sen­ate map is tough for Democ­rats. The par­ty has twen­ty seats to defend, while Repub­li­cans have only eleven. That means Democ­rats will be most­ly focused on defense. They can­not afford to lose more than one Sen­ate seat unless they also gain a seat from the Republicans.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic or inde­pen­dent-held seats Repub­li­cans are expect­ed to target:

  • Mon­tana (Sen­a­tor Jon Tester is up)
  • Michi­gan (Sen­a­tor Deb­bie Stabenow is retiring)
  • West Vir­ginia (Sen­a­tor Joe Manchin is up)
  • Ari­zona (Sen­a­tor Kyrsten Sine­ma is up, and Democ­rats have already begun aban­don­ing her in favor of Ruben Gallego)
  • Neva­da (Sen­a­tor Jacky Rosen is up)
  • Ohio (Sen­a­tor Sher­rod Brown is up)
  • Wis­con­sin (Sen­a­tor Tam­my Bald­win is up)

Wash­ing­ton is cur­rent­ly rat­ed “Sol­id D” by Cook, Rothen­berg, and Sabato.

Giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ties for Repub­li­cans else­where, they’re unlike­ly to expend much mon­ey or effort in Wash­ing­ton State, espe­cial­ly after Tiffany Smi­ley’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance in the 2022 midterms.

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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