President Joe Biden enjoys a seventeen point lead in Washington State for another term over his indicted predecessor Donald Trump and a somewhat smaller twelve point lead over right wing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the Northwest Progressive Institute’s most recent statewide survey has found.
If the 2024 presidential election were being held today, 53% of 773 likely Washington State general election voters interviewed last week by Public Policy Polling for NPI say they’d support Biden’s reelection if the candidates were Biden and Trump. 36%, meanwhile, would vote for Trump. 11% said they weren’t sure.
DeSantis is, at least at this juncture, is a slightly stronger candidate than Trump for the Republicans in Washington State. In a hypothetical matchup with the ultra MAGA Florida governor, once a protege of Trump’s, 51% of our respondents said they’d vote for Biden, while 39% would vote for DeSantis. 10% were not sure.
There are no certainties in politics, but pundits would say it’s a given that President Joe Biden will carry Washington in 2024. The state isn’t expected to be competitive, and this polling supports that view. However, who’s at the top of the ticket matters, and can have an effect on races far down the ballot.
DeSantis might not be a boon for Washington Republicans if he’s the nominee, but perhaps he wouldn’t weigh down the ticket as much as Trump would.
It’s been said that all politics is local and all politics is national; it’s also been said in recent years that all politics is Trump. And all of those phenomena can actually be true simultaneously. Our political landscape abounds with paradoxes!
Here’s the exact text of the questions we asked and the responses:
QUESTION: If the 2024 election for President were being held today, would you vote for Democrat Joe Biden or Republican Donald Trump?
- Joe Biden: 53%
- Donald Trump: 36%
- Not sure: 11%
QUESTION: If the 2024 election for President were being held today, would you vote for Democrat Joe Biden or Republican Ron DeSantis?
- Joe Biden: 51%
- Ron DeSantis: 39%
- Not sure: 10%
Our survey of 773 likely 2024 Washington State voters was in the field from Wednesday, June 7th through Thursday, June 8th, 2023.
The poll utilizes a blended methodology, with automated phone calls to landlines (41%) and online answers from cell phone only respondents (59%).
It was conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) for the Northwest Progressive Institute, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% confidence interval.
The historical record
39% is a smidgeon higher than where Trump-Pence ticket performed in 2016 and 2020, and 36% is two ticks lower. In 2016, the Trump-Pence ticket received 38.07% of the vote in Washington. Four years later, the ticket’s share of the vote actually increased a little, to 38.77%. If you weren’t aware that that happened, you could be forgiven for not knowing, since the Democrats romped to victory in Washington in both years, and increased their share of the vote by more — Clinton-Kaine got 54.3% of the vote, whereas Biden-Harris got 57.97%.
In our final preelection poll three years ago, which fielded in October of 2020, we found 60% support for Joe Biden, 37% support for Donald Trump, and 2% not sure. We did not include minor party candidates as choices in that survey, but they were present as options on the general election ballot. The total non-Trump vote ended up being 60.57% in Washington, excluding write-ins.
Back when Biden was vying for the Democratic nomination with several other hopefuls, we looked at who might be the strongest opponent for Trump in Washington, and found that Elizabeth Warren did ever so slightly better than Biden or Bernie Sanders. We released that finding in November of 2019.
Warren suspended her campaign before voting really got underway in Washington’s Democratic presidential primary. Bernie Sanders stayed in through our primary, but couldn’t quite keep pace with Biden, whose political stock rocketed upwards after his big win in South Carolina and subsequent Super Tuesday dominance. Biden won the Washington presidential primary with 37.94% of the vote. Sanders received 36.57%, and Warren received 9.15%.
Washington is slated to hold a presidential primary again next year, in March, and it will mark only the second time in state history that both major parties use it for delegate allocation, with the caucus-only era now in the rearview mirror.
That presidential primary will be an open primary, meaning that anyone who wants to affiliate — at least temporarily — with the Republican Party will be able to participate by checking a box, which means it won’t be restricted to just ultra MAGA partisans. However, they are likely to be the biggest voting bloc.
Under Washington State law, the parties control whose names appear on the ballot, exercising their First Amendment rights of free assembly. It is possible that Biden’s name will be the only name on the Democratic Party’s ballot. The Republican Party’s ballot will probably have quite a few names on it.
Insights from our crosstabs
Trump and DeSantis performed about the same with Republican voters against Biden in our survey — Trump gets 85% and DeSantis gets 84%. Likewise, Biden got 90% of Democratic voters against Trump, and 89% against DeSantis.
Interestingly, slightly more self-identified Republican voters say they’d cross over to back Biden if Trump was the nominee — Biden gets 7% of Republican voters against Trump versus 5% of them against DeSantis.
Where there’s a bigger difference, and where DeSantis has an advantage, is with self-identified independent voters. 47% of independents in this poll picked DeSantis, while 39% picked Biden, and 13% said they were not sure.
But with Trump as the Republican option, Biden got a plurality of the independents. 42% of independents picked Biden with Trump as the opponent. Trump got 39% and 19% said they were not sure.
This was a poll of likely general election voters, so we couldn’t look at whether Republican and Republican leaning voters in Washington State prefer Trump to DeSantis, or DeSantis to Trump, for the party’s presidential nomination.
The crosstabs from our hypothetical matchups suggest the Republican base still likes Trump, but will they like him more than DeSantis next spring, especially as Trump goes on trial for his crimes? We shall see, presuming the Republican nomination is still being contested at the time we hold our presidential primary.