Maria Cantwell has a fifteen point lead over hypothetical opponent Jaime Herrera Beutler

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 (NPI graphic)

Her­rera Beut­ler’s per­cent­age exact­ly match­es the per­cent­age of vot­ers who said they would vote for Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier if he were 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.

Andrew Villeneuve

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