Graphic depicting the Northwest Progressive Institute's November 2023 Seattle D3 poll finding
Visualization of the Northwest Progressive Institute's November 2023 poll finding for Seattle City Council in the 3rd District (NPI graphic)

Seat­tle City Coun­cil hope­ful Joy Hollingsworth is the clear favorite in the close­ly-watched con­test to deter­mine a suc­ces­sor to out­go­ing Coun­cilmem­ber Kshama Sawant, a new North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute poll has found.

In the aggre­gate, 52% of 327 like­ly Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3 vot­ers inter­viewed by Change Research this week for NPI said they had vot­ed or would be vot­ing for Hollingsworth, while 28% said they had vot­ed or would be vot­ing for Alex Hud­son, the oth­er final­ist for Coun­cil. 16% were not sure, 3% did not recall how they had vot­ed, and 1% said they would not vote in the contest.

Hollingsworth and Hud­son emerged from a large field of can­di­dates back in the sum­mer with near­ly iden­ti­cal shares of the vote. Hollingsworth had an Elec­tion Night advan­tage, but Hud­son caught up as the late bal­lots were counted.

In the end, they fin­ished with­in a few dozen votes of each oth­er: Hollingsworth had 9,690 votes (36.87%) at cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, while Hud­son had 9,601 votes (36.53%). Six oth­er can­di­dates failed to advance: Alex Coo­ley, Bob­by Good­win, Ry Arm­strong, Shob­hit Agar­w­al, Andrew Ash­io­fu, and Efrain Hudnell.

Our sur­vey indi­cates that Hollingsworth has opened up a sub­stan­tial lead over Hud­son since then. Hollingsworth is the choice of every group of vot­ers in our sur­vey except for eigh­teen to thir­ty-four year olds, who favor Hud­son. Hollingsworth leads among those who have already vot­ed (48% of the sam­ple) as well as those who have yet to vote (51% of the sample).

Hollingsworth is a native of the Cen­tral Dis­trict, one of the neigh­bor­hoods in the 3rd. She is a skilled bas­ket­ball play­er, hav­ing played in high school, col­lege (at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ari­zona) and then pro­fes­sion­al­ly. After Wash­ing­ton vot­ers decrim­i­nal­ized cannabis in 2012, Hollingsworth and her broth­er launched Hollingsworth Farms, “a fam­i­ly-owned and oper­at­ed cannabis com­pa­ny locat­ed on the Olympic Penin­su­la.” It’s one of the few inde­pen­dent, Black-owned cannabis oper­a­tions in the State of Wash­ing­ton, Hollingsworth’s cam­paign says.

Hollingsworth is endorsed by Seat­tle May­or Bruce Har­rell, King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­ber Gir­may Zahi­lay, The Seat­tle Times, The Seat­tle Medi­um, and the North­west Asian Week­ly. (See more of her endorse­ments at her web­site).

Alex Hud­son is from Red­mond (NPI’s home­town!) and was raised on a small fam­i­ly farm in unin­cor­po­rat­ed east King Coun­ty. She is a grad­u­ate of West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in Belling­ham, where she found­ed a stu­dent club affil­i­at­ed with the ACLU of Wash­ing­ton. She went on to lead the First Hill Improve­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, where she worked to increase access to hous­ing. Lat­er, she became the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Trans­porta­tion Choic­es Coali­tion (TCC), which works to improve free­dom of mobil­i­ty, espe­cial­ly for those who can’t or don’t want to drive.

Hud­son is endorsed by King Coun­ty Coun­cilmem­bers Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, Joe McDer­mott, and Rod Dem­bows­ki, as well as The Stranger, The Urban­ist, and Pub­li­co­la. (See more of her endorse­ments at her web­site).

Here’s the exact ques­tions we asked and the respons­es we received:

Already voted

QUESTION: In the elec­tion for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3, who did you vote for?

Respon­dents who told us that they had already vot­ed were shown this question. 

  • Joy Hollingsworth: 59%
  • Alex Hud­son: 34%
  • Do not recall: 7%
  • Did not vote on this: 0%

Haven’t yet voted

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3 are list­ed below in the order they appear on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

Respon­dents who told us that they had not yet vot­ed were shown this question. 

  • Joy Hollingsworth: 38%
  • Alex Hud­son: 20%
  • Not sure: 42%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for? Links to the can­di­dates’ web­sites are here if you’d like to learn more about them:

Joy Hollingsworth
Alex Hud­son

If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

  • Joy Hollingsworth: 25%
  • Alex Hud­son: 5%
  • Not sure: 66%
  • Would not vote: 4%

Aggregate responses


  • Joy Hollingsworth: 52%
  • Alex Hud­son: 28%
  • Not sure: 16%
  • Do not recall: 3%
  • Would not vote: 1%
  • Did not vote on this: 0%

Joy Hollingsworth’s name was always shown to respon­dents first and Alex Hud­son’s name was always shown sec­ond, as that is the order the can­di­dates are list­ed on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. The can­di­dates’ pho­tographs from the voter’s pam­phlet state­ment were shown to vot­ers along­side their names.

Our sur­vey of 327 like­ly 2023 Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3 gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 31st, until today, Fri­day, Novem­ber 3rd. The poll was con­duct­ed entire­ly online for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research and has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 5.7%.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the survey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll.

We asked fol­low-up ques­tions of respon­dents who had already vot­ed for both Hollingsworth and Hud­son to tell us about their choice in their own words.

Hollingsworth sup­port­ers cit­ed Har­rel­l’s endorse­ment as an impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion, along with her biog­ra­phy and pub­lic safe­ty stances.

Why vote for Joy Hollingsworth?

“Her expe­ri­ence, she val­ues pub­lic safe­ty, she seems to be able to work well with stake­hold­ers, she is sup­port­ed by the may­or, I agree with her stand on issues affect­ing the city, she is smart and artic­u­late, she grew up in D3 [Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3],” said a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic female vot­er from Capi­tol Hill / First Hill between the ages of fifty and sixty-four.

“She has expe­ri­ence and great his­to­ry of con­nec­tions in Dis­trict 3 area. And she is strong­ly focused on pub­lic safe­ty, which I think should be Seat­tle’s high­est pri­or­i­ty,” said an inde­pen­dent female vot­er between the ages of thir­ty-five and forty-nine who lives in the south­east­ern part of the district.

“She is the bet­ter can­di­date. She grew up in Seat­tle and appears gen­uine­ly invest­ed in the com­mu­ni­ty. Not every­one with the polit­i­cal sci­ence degree knows what is best. I am cer­tain­ly a STEM pro­fes­sion­al, but hor­ti­cul­ture and expe­ri­en­tial learn­ing is extreme­ly valu­able as well,” said a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic male vot­er between the ages of eigh­teen to thir­ty-four from Capi­tol Hill / First Hill.

And here’s a few very short com­ments we received about Joy:

  • Expen­sive expe­ri­ence across a lot of dif­fer­ent rel­e­vant areas.
  • Focus on crime and stop cod­dling the homeless.
  • Lis­ten­ing to com­mu­ni­ty, impor­tant rep­re­sen­ta­tion for the dis­trict and council.
  • Long Cen­tral Area pres­ence, more mod­er­ate stances.

Hud­son sup­port­ers cit­ed their per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions with her and said she was well pre­pared to gov­ern, with well thought out posi­tions on issues like transit.

Why vote for Alex Hudson?

“I’ve met her and got a chance to talk about her views and expe­ri­ence and what she would do on the Coun­cil. I liked her ideas and aligned with her pro­gres­sive but prag­mat­ic views,” said a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic female vot­er from the south­east­ern part of the dis­trict between the ages of eigh­teen and thirty-four.

“She has a much bet­ter plat­form on hous­ing and tran­sit than her oppo­nent, and while my views on polic­ing don’t entire­ly align with Hud­son’s I felt even less aligned with Hollingsworth’s focus on unre­al­is­tic hir­ing goals for SPD and her gen­er­al exag­ger­a­tion of the state of crime in Seat­tle,” said a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic male vot­er from Capi­tol Hill / First Hill between the ages of eigh­teen and thirty-four.

That was the tough­est choice on the entire bal­lot: Alex got my vote based on her work his­to­ry with hous­ing and trans­porta­tion plan­ning,” said a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic male vot­er from Capi­tol Hill / First Hill between the ages of fifty and six­ty-four. (Empha­sis is the respondent’s.) 

And here’s a few very short com­ments we received about Alex:

  • Pol­i­cy expe­ri­ence, strong over­all cre­den­tials. Good ideas for city plan­ning and growth.
  • Pub­lic tran­sit focus and a real­i­ty based approach to policing.
  • Knowl­edge­able of the job. Does not sup­port present police behavior.
  • Urban­ist with vision for future of Seattle.

Hollingsworth’s strength in the sur­vey stems from her appeal to many groups of vot­ers. She has major­i­ty sup­port among strong Democ­rats, inde­pen­dents, and Repub­li­cans, for exam­ple, which is impres­sive. We just don’t see that very often.

She also has the sup­port of 62% of respon­dents in Madrona, Leschi, and the Cen­tral Dis­trict and the sup­port of 58% of respon­dents in Mont­lake, Madi­son Park, Madi­son Val­ley, Portage Bay, and East­lake. On Capi­tol Hill and First Hill, it’s a clos­er con­test, but Hollingsworth leads there, too, with 44% to Hud­son’s 33%.

Polls can’t pre­dict elec­toral out­comes, they can only sug­gest what might hap­pen, but these sur­vey results are a cer­tain­ly com­pelling piece of evi­dence that Hollingsworth’s cam­paign is res­onat­ing with vot­ers and is on track to prevail.

You might have noticed ear­li­er that 48% of our sam­ple has already vot­ed, while 51% have yet to vote. His­tor­i­cal­ly, in our polling, the already vot­ed sub­sam­ple has been a good indi­ca­tor of how the results will turn out, because peo­ple who have already vot­ed have come to a deci­sion they can tell us about.

It’s not uncom­mon in non­par­ti­san local races for a lot of peo­ple to be unsure who they are going to sup­port right up until they sit down to vote. We’ve pub­lished, on many occa­sions, poll find­ings in which the largest group of vot­ers were unde­cid­ed. We’re very com­fort­able hav­ing a sam­ple in which a sub­stan­tial num­ber of vot­ers report that they have already vot­ed (which, it should be not­ed, is not the same thing as hav­ing returned a bal­lot — that’s a sub­se­quent step!)

And remem­ber, we saw a lead for Hollingsworth among those who haven’t vot­ed, too. Hollingsworth also picked up far more sup­port than Alex Hud­son did when we nudged not sure vot­ers in the not-yet-vot­ed group to make a decision.

Our col­league Ben Sul­li­van of Change Research, who over­saw the field­ing of this sur­vey for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, not­ed: “We aren’t see­ing a fun­da­men­tal dif­fer­ence in the views of peo­ple who have already vot­ed and those who have not yet vot­ed, so even if those who have already vot­ed are over­rep­re­sent­ed here, it should­n’t skew the out­comes much.”

Two years ago, NPI com­mis­sioned Change Research to han­dle the field­ing for our inau­gur­al polls of the Seat­tle elec­torate. In sev­en out of sev­en city­wide con­tests, the can­di­date who led in our Octo­ber 2021 sur­vey of the elec­torate went on to win. More analy­sis is avail­able in this Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate post.

Lat­er today, we’ll bring you more find­ings from our pre­elec­tion poll of Seat­tle City Coun­cil Dis­trict #3, includ­ing vot­ers’ views on the hous­ing levy!

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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