Visualization of NPI's April 2024 congressional generic ballot poll finding
A visualization of the Northwest Progressive Institute's April 2024 congressional generic ballot poll findings in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (NPI graphic)

A major­i­ty of vot­ers in the Pacif­ic North­west want Demo­c­ra­t­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the next Con­gress and say they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date from their con­gres­sion­al elec­tion if the 2024 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion were being held today, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est pub­lic opin­ion research sur­vey has found. 

52% of 1,012 Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Ida­ho vot­ers sur­veyed by Civiqs ear­li­er this month for NPI said they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date in their con­gres­sion­al dis­trict if the elec­tion were being held now, while 40% said they’d vote for the Repub­li­can can­di­date. 8% were not sure. 

Respon­dents in Ore­gon were the most enthu­si­as­tic about vot­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic — 57% of them said they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date, while just 34% said they’d pick the Repub­li­can. Respon­dents in Ida­ho were the least enthu­si­as­tic, with 27% say­ing they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date and 64% say­ing they’d vote for the Republican. 

Respon­dents in his­tor­i­cal­ly blue Wash­ing­ton State also not sur­pris­ing­ly expressed a pref­er­ence for Democ­rats. 54% of them said they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date, while 38% said they’d vote for the Repub­li­can candidate. 

Crit­i­cal­ly, Democ­rats have an advan­tage with sub­ur­ban vot­ers. Our sur­vey found that 57% of sub­ur­ban vot­ers in the three states would vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date from their dis­trict. 38% would vote for the Repub­li­can can­di­date. A mere 5% were not sure. The par­ty’s advan­tage in the sub­urbs is, inter­est­ing­ly, greater than Repub­li­cans’ advan­tage in rur­al com­mu­ni­ties. 40% of rur­al vot­ers say they’d vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date and 53% say they’d vote for the Repub­li­can can­di­date. 8% are not sure. 

This is an intrigu­ing find­ing, because many pun­dits con­sid­er pre­dom­i­nant­ly rur­al dis­tricts to be unwinnable for Democ­rats. But the par­ty has proved it can break through with the right can­di­dates. Con­sid­er Mary Pel­to­la’s two con­sec­u­tive vic­to­ries in Alas­ka, or Marie Glue­senkamp Perez’s upset win in 2022 (which our polling sug­gest­ed was a real pos­si­bil­i­ty, even though many nation­al pun­dits were stunned).

The Pacif­ic North­west has eigh­teen con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts: ten in Wash­ing­ton, six in Ore­gon, and two in Ida­ho. Eight of the ten Wash­ing­ton dis­tricts are cur­rent­ly held by Democ­rats fol­low­ing Glue­senkamp Perez’s elec­tion to the House. In Ore­gon, four of the six seats are cur­rent­ly held by Democ­rats after Repub­li­can Lori Chavez-DeRe­mer’s vic­to­ry. Repub­li­cans have held both of Ida­ho’s seats since the 2010 midterms. 

Democ­rats would like to pick up Chavez-DeRe­mer’s seat in Ore­gon’s 5th and keep Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd, 6th, and 8th Demo­c­ra­t­ic. Repub­li­cans con­sid­er Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd their top pick­up oppor­tu­ni­ty in the region. They’d like to expand the map and go after Ore­gon’s 4th and 6th Dis­tricts as well, but that may not be fea­si­ble this cycle. 

In Wash­ing­ton’s 5th, which used to be rep­re­sent­ed by Speak­er Tom Foley, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers is retir­ing, cre­at­ing an open seat. A large field of Repub­li­cans is run­ning, which cre­ates an open­ing for Democ­rats. Whether they can cap­i­tal­ize remains to be seen. The par­ty has­n’t yet unit­ed behind one can­di­date like it did with Glue­senkamp Perez in 2022, and the dis­trict is much more Repub­li­can than Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd. But any­one who thinks a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pick­up of WA-05 is impos­si­ble should remem­ber the mantra it’s often con­sid­ered impos­si­ble until it’s done.

Here is the exact text of the ques­tion we asked and the answers we received: 

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives were being held today, would you vote for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic or Repub­li­can can­di­date from your district?

ANSWERS FROM THE ENTIRE PACIFIC NORTHWEST SAMPLE:

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date: 52%
  • Repub­li­can can­di­date: 40%
  • Not sure: 8%

ANSWERS FROM WASHINGTON STATE RESPONDENTS:

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date: 54%
  • Repub­li­can can­di­date: 39%
  • Not sure: 7%

ANSWERS FROM OREGON RESPONDENTS:

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date: 57%
  • Repub­li­can can­di­date: 34%
  • Not sure: 9%

ANSWERS FROM IDAHO RESPONDENTS:

  • Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date: 27%
  • Repub­li­can can­di­date: 64%
  • Not sure: 9%

Our poll of 1,012 like­ly vot­ers was in the field from April 13th-16th, 2024. 

The sur­vey was con­duct­ed entire­ly online, among select­ed mem­bers of the Civiqs research pan­el, and it has a mar­gin of error of ± 3.4% at the 95% con­fi­dence lev­el. 598 of the respon­dents inter­viewed were from Wash­ing­ton, 246 were from Ore­gon, and 168 were from Ida­ho. (Reflect­ing its larg­er pop­u­la­tion as mea­sured in the last nation­al cen­sus, Wash­ing­ton has as many elec­toral votes as Ore­gon and Ida­ho put togeth­er — twelve! — and that’s why the sam­ple has more Wash­ing­ton vot­ers in it.)

The next few weeks will bring impor­tant devel­op­ments in the PNW’s con­gres­sion­al races. Fil­ing Week in Wash­ing­ton State will be from May 6th — 10th, and after that, the ten con­gres­sion­al fields in Wash­ing­ton State will be set. 

A cou­ple weeks lat­er, vot­ers in Ore­gon and Ida­ho will pick Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can nom­i­nees for the U.S. House, in their May 21st pri­maries. Wash­ing­ton does­n’t have a real pri­ma­ry, so Ever­green State vot­ers don’t get the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pick nominees. 

Instead, in the Top Two elec­tion on August 6th, vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton will choose two can­di­dates to appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot in every con­gres­sion­al dis­trict. Those two can­di­dates could be from dif­fer­ent par­ties, but they could also be from the same par­ty… as was the case in Wash­ing­ton’s 10th in 2020, when Democ­rats Mar­i­lyn Strick­land and Beth Doglio com­pet­ed in the gen­er­al election. 

We’ll con­tin­ue to bring you cov­er­age of this year’s con­gres­sion­al races through­out the remain­der of the cycle here on The Cas­ca­dia Advocate. 

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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