Visualization of NPI's May 2024 Washington State U.S. Senate poll finding (NPI graphic)
Visualization of NPI's May 2024 Washington State U.S. Senate poll finding (NPI graphic)

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell remains well ahead of like­ly Repub­li­can oppo­nent Raul Gar­cia and remains on course to eas­i­ly secure reelec­tion to a fifth term, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est Wash­ing­ton state sur­vey has found.

53% of 615 vot­ers sur­veyed last week by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling said they’d vote for Cantwell for U.S. Sen­ate if the gen­er­al elec­tion were being held today. 38% said they would vote for Gar­cia, a Yaki­ma doc­tor who has the endorse­ment of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty, the Main­stream Repub­li­cans of Wash­ing­ton, and a long list of promi­nent Repub­li­can fig­ures. 9% said they were not sure.

In our Feb­ru­ary sur­vey of Wash­ing­ton State, Cantwell led Gar­cia by a six­teen point mar­gin. Her fif­teen point advan­tage in this sur­vey is essen­tial­ly unchanged. 

Gar­cia is one of ten oppo­nents who filed ear­li­er this month to chal­lenge Cantwell. Wash­ing­ton State law allows only two final­ists to appear on the gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot, how­ev­er, and it’s unlike­ly that any of the oth­er indi­vid­u­als who filed will be able to vie with Cantwell and Gar­cia for those two spots. Here’s a com­plete list:

As I’ve not­ed before, none of Cantwell’s reelec­tion bids have been dif­fi­cult. Since she nar­row­ly pre­vailed over the late Slade Gor­ton in 2000, she’s had the good for­tune of run­ning in Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave years, specif­i­cal­ly 2006, 2012, and 2018. 

Regard­less of whether 2024 ends up being a Demo­c­ra­t­ic wave year or not, Wash­ing­ton has ceased to be a state where Repub­li­cans are com­pet­i­tive at a statewide lev­el, which will work to the advan­tage of Cantwell as well as those Democ­rats run­ning for exec­u­tive depart­ment posi­tions. (Democ­rats con­trol every sin­gle statewide exec­u­tive office.) 

New par­ty chair Jim Walsh would like to win some statewide races this year, but he’s an arith­metic denier and unwill­ing to do what many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans have told us in our sur­veys would be nec­es­sary to get them to con­sid­er vot­ing Repub­li­can again: break with Don­ald Trump and the nation­al Repub­li­can Par­ty and adopt an agen­da that is faith­ful to the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion and the val­ues Wash­ing­ton was found­ed upon. 

That’s a prob­lem for Garcia.

While Gar­cia has a pleas­ant, affa­ble demeanor and lacks the bag­gage that has prompt­ed top Repub­li­can Mitch McConnell to grouse about Repub­li­cans’ issues with “can­di­date qual­i­ty,” he has not demon­strat­ed an acu­men for fundrais­ing (unlike Pat­ty Mur­ray’s van­quished foe Tiffany Smi­ley, who’s now run­ning for Con­gress), nor has he spo­ken out against his par­ty’s efforts to over­turn Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy, an essen­tial pre­req­ui­site for a Repub­li­can wish­ing to com­pete statewide in Wash­ing­ton nowadays.

Local right wing talk show hosts have made their dis­dain for Democ­rats’ use of Trump as a cud­gel abun­dant­ly clear — Ari Hoff­man was grum­bling about this last night — but they refuse to rec­og­nize the elec­toral real­i­ty that most vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton find Trump repul­sive. Vot­ers here don’t want to entrust the state or fed­er­al gov­er­nance to peo­ple who stand ready to serve as enablers for Trump and his hor­rif­ic schemes.

And Gar­cia would be one of those enablers. 

Cantwell, mean­while, can make a strong case for reelec­tion. She chairs the influ­en­tial Com­merce Com­mit­tee and has many accom­plish­ments to tout. Her work on CHIPS and Sci­ence and the more recent FAA reau­tho­riza­tion have been out­stand­ing. She also has put togeth­er a com­pelling pro­pos­al with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers to cre­ate a new fed­er­al data pri­va­cy law that our research has found is very pop­u­lar.

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

QUESTION: If the elec­tion for Unit­ed States Sen­ate were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Maria Cantwell and Repub­li­can Raul Gar­cia, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS:

  • Maria Cantwell: 53% (unchanged since February)
  • Raul Gar­cia: 38% (-1% since February)
  • Not sure: 9% (-1% since February)

Our sur­vey of 615 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, May 15th through Thurs­day, May 16th, 2024.

The poll uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (45%) and online answers from respon­dents recruit­ed by text (55%).

It was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 4.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI and PPP have worked togeth­er for a decade and have a track record of excel­lence, as detailed in this 2022 elec­toral polling recap and this 2020 one.

The trend so far this cycle, visualized

Below you can see all of our pre­vi­ous find­ings for this con­test plotted.

Interested in diving into the crosstabs with us?

If you’re inter­est­ed in the crosstabs of our sen­a­to­r­i­al polling — past and present — we invite you to sub­scribe to The Chi­nook Bea­con, NPI’s newest pub­li­ca­tion and The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate’s youngest sib­ling. The Bea­con, which just launched last week, is a newslet­ter avail­able exclu­sive­ly to pay­ing sub­scribers that pro­vides deep insights from our research as well as com­men­tary on elec­toral and polit­i­cal trends. Sub­scrip­tions cost $20/month or $240/year, and you can also become a Found­ing Mem­ber for $600/year.

We expect to pub­lish new edi­tions of The Bea­con every oth­er week through Novem­ber. After that, the pub­li­ca­tion sched­ule will like­ly go to twice a month.

We’ll have more senatorial polling this summer

In July, as the Top Two elec­tion draws close, we’ll check in again and take the pulse of the elec­torate in this and oth­er key races on the statewide ballot. 

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.

Adjacent posts

Leave a comment

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our Commenting Guidelines. If you submit any links to other websites in your comment or in the Website field, these will be published at our discretion. Please read our statement of Privacy Practices before commenting to understand how we collect and use submissions to the Cascadia Advocate. Your comment must be submitted with a name and email address as noted below. We will not publish or share your email address.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *