NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Seattle voters love ST3’s Ballard and West Seattle light rail extensions, but will they love the alignment Sound Transit’s board picks?

Today is a big day for Sound Tran­sit, the Region­al Tran­sit Author­i­ty that the Leg­is­la­ture estab­lished in the 1990s to strength­en mobil­i­ty in Cen­tral Puget Sound — the Seat­tle-Belle­vue-Taco­ma-Everett met­ro­pol­i­tan area. The Sound Tran­sit Board is expect­ed at an after­noon board meet­ing to make some impor­tant deci­sions about the place­ment of sta­tions and guide­way for future light rail exten­sions that vot­ers approved back in 2016 as part of Sound Tran­sit Phase III.

These Phase III exten­sion plans call for build­ing light rail lines out to Bal­lard and West Seat­tle, two pop­u­lous neigh­bor­hoods in the Emer­ald City that our tran­sit agen­cies cur­rent­ly only serve by bus or shuttle.

For those forth­com­ing lines to be able to fea­si­bly con­nect into the exist­ing net­work — which includes a rail spine run­ning from North­gate to Angle Lake in SeaT­ac but will even­tu­al­ly go both fur­ther north and south as well as east — Sound Tran­sit says a new tun­nel under­neath down­town will be required.

Fig­ur­ing out where to put that tun­nel and its asso­ci­at­ed sta­tions has been one of the most dif­fi­cult align­ment exer­cis­es in the agen­cy’s history.

The mat­ter is com­ing before the board at the afore­men­tioned meet­ing, but as our friends at The Urban­ist have writ­ten, Sound Tran­sit seems unpre­pared to make a final deci­sion about guide­way align­ment and sta­tion sit­ing at this time.

Sound Tran­sit staff and board ought to be aware that vot­ers in Seat­tle love the West Seat­tle and Bal­lard light rail exten­sions and are expect­ing Sound Tran­sit to design and con­struct these projects thought­ful­ly. These are poten­tial­ly hun­dred year deci­sions that will affect the rid­er­ship expe­ri­ence for a very long time.

The con­se­quences need to be giv­en care­ful consideration.

In our most recent poll of the City of Seat­tle, which field­ed only a cou­ple of months ago, like­ly spe­cial elec­tion vot­ers in the City of Seat­tle once again said that the West Seat­tle and Bal­lard light rail exten­sions were their favorite cur­rent or pro­posed pub­lic works projects in the city, out of more than half a dozen we asked them about. Sup­port for these projects is real­ly, real­ly high.

Take a look:

QUESTION: Do you sup­port or oppose the fol­low­ing pub­lic works projects in the Seat­tle area?

Public works maps projects in the Seattle area

The map we showed vot­ers in our Jan­u­ary 2023 Seat­tle poll (North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute)


ProjectSup­portOpposeNot sure
Light rail to West Seat­tle and Bal­lard (in design)81%13%6%
Pacif­ic North­west high speed rail (pro­posed)77%14%9%
Water­front Seat­tle (under construction)76%18%5%
State Route 520 recon­struc­tion (under construction)67%20%13%
Yesler Ter­race rede­vel­op­ment (under construction)59%18%23%
Cen­tral Seat­tle Inter­state 5 Lid (pro­posed)57%23%20%
Uni­ver­si­ty Dis­trict Inter­state 5 Lid (pro­posed) 55%26%20%
Wash­ing­ton State Con­ven­tion Cen­ter expan­sion (under construction)53%35%12%

Our sur­vey of 651 like­ly Feb­ru­ary 2023 spe­cial elec­tion vot­ers in Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton was in the field from Thurs­day, Jan­u­ary 26th, through Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 30th, 2023. All respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research and has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.2% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

81%… that’s more than eight in ten voters!

We are a long way from the debates of the 1990s and even the ear­ly 2000s, when it was­n’t uncom­mon to read let­ters to the edi­tor or hear pub­lic com­ment argu­ing that light rail was a bad invest­ment. We’ve decid­ed we’re build­ing it, and we’ve built quite a bit in twen­ty years (ground­break­ing on Cen­tral Link began in 2003).

But before the con­struc­tion on the ST3 projects can begin, these all impor­tant align­ment deci­sions have to be made. Where are the sta­tions and tracks going to go, espe­cial­ly in down­town, where we’ll see the most trans­fers between lines and modes? Ear­li­er in the design process, Sound Tran­sit was con­tem­plat­ing putting a tun­nel under­neath Fifth Avenue, but this option has basi­cal­ly been dropped fol­low­ing oppo­si­tion from the Chi­na­town / Inter­na­tion­al Dis­trict community.

Atten­tion has shift­ed to alter­na­tive ideas, most notably a tun­nel under Fourth Avenue, with a new sta­tion adja­cent to the exist­ing CID sta­tion, or a “north and south of CID” align­ment that would entail the elim­i­na­tion of the pro­posed Mid­town Sta­tion in favor of a sta­tion across from the King Coun­ty Cour­t­house in the Pio­neer Square area and yet anoth­er sta­tion in South Down­town (SoDo).

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine, the Chair of the Sound Tran­sit Board, and Seat­tle May­or Bruce Har­rell recent­ly offered a pub­lic endorse­ment of the “north and south of CID” con­cept and say they can bring addi­tion­al mon­ey to the table to help build it, but they haven’t pre­sent­ed much in the way of specifics yet.

Urban­ists and tran­sit advo­cates have been offer­ing a very ener­getic crit­i­cal appraisal of the “north and south of CID” con­cept ever since that announcement.

The Urban­ist, The Stranger, and Pub­li­co­la have all writ­ten about the align­ment debate in detail and we rec­om­mend read­ing their cov­er­age. You’ll learn a lot.

What our research demon­strates is that these pub­lic works projects have more sup­port than pret­ty much any­thing else Seat­tle is build­ing or think­ing of build­ing right now. (It’s inter­est­ing that inter­ci­ty high speed rail placed sec­ond — Seat­tle is tru­ly hun­gry for bet­ter rail tran­sit of all kinds, which is heart­en­ing to see!)

There’s a lot of sup­port and good­will for Sound Tran­sit among the peo­ple of the Emer­ald City right now. It would be a mis­take to squan­der it — it took a long time to earn. Years of thought­ful lead­er­ship from Joni Earl has got­ten us to this point.

Self-imposed dead­lines on pub­lic works projects are not a bad thing — a project can’t get built if it stays in the design phase indef­i­nite­ly — but it’s also impor­tant to choose align­ments wise­ly, and make a deci­sion when the time is ripe.

If the prop­er ground­work has­n’t been laid, then today, March 23rd, isn’t the right time to decide where the sta­tions and tracks are going. 

If the Sound Tran­sit Board wants to pur­sue the “north and south of CID” con­cept — which NPI has a lot of ques­tions about — then it needs to prop­er­ly explore the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of that option and ensure that peo­ple have a chance to think about and react to the pro­posed devi­a­tions from the plan that vot­ers saw in 2016.

Vot­ers love these projects. They want Sound Tran­sit to get them right.

If the design phase must go on for longer to ensure that the best pos­si­ble long term deci­sion is made, then let the design phase continue.

Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

68% of likely Washington voters support enacting a permit-to-purchase law for guns

Near­ly sev­en in ten like­ly 2024 vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton sup­port strength­en­ing the Ever­green State’s gun safe­ty laws to require a per­mit to pur­chase a firearm, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide sur­vey has found.

68% of 874 vot­ers inter­viewed across the state from March 7th-8th sup­port the poli­cies pro­posed by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Liz Berry (D‑36th Dis­trict: Seat­tle) and dozens of her House col­leagues in House Bill 1143, which is now under con­sid­er­a­tion in the Sen­ate. 29% are opposed and 3% said they were not sure.

Well over a major­i­ty — 56% — of our respon­dents said they were strong­ly sup­port­ive, while an addi­tion­al 12% were strong­ly supportive.

10% were some­what opposed and 19% were strong­ly opposed.

Visualization of NPI's permit to purchase gun safety poll finding

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s per­mit to pur­chase gun safe­ty poll find­ing (NPI graphic)

House Bill 1143, pre­filed on Jan­u­ary 5th, was request­ed by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee. Its Sen­ate com­pan­ion, SB 5211, is prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Marko Liias.

The amend­ed bill, accord­ing to non­par­ti­san staff:

  • Pro­vides that a deal­er may not trans­fer any firearm to a pur­chas­er or trans­fer­ee until com­ple­tion of a back­ground check indi­cat­ing the per­son is eli­gi­ble to pos­sess firearms and ten busi­ness days have elapsed since the deal­er request­ed the back­ground check.
  • Pro­hibits a deal­er from trans­fer­ring a firearm to a pur­chas­er or trans­fer­ee unless the per­son pro­vides the deal­er with proof of com­ple­tion of a rec­og­nized firearm safe­ty train­ing program.
  • Updates firearm trans­fer and back­ground check process­es, includ­ing updates to con­form to imple­men­ta­tion of a state firearms back­ground check program.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed to pass HB 1143 on March 7th by a vote of 52–44, with 2 excused. The bill is sched­uled to be con­sid­ered in exec­u­tive ses­sion next Tues­day fol­low­ing its hear­ing today in the Sen­ate Law & Jus­tice Committee.

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

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose enact­ing a per­mit-to-pur­chase law for firearms, which would require peo­ple who want to buy a gun to get fin­ger­print­ed, take a class in gun safe­ty, and pass an enhanced back­ground check first?


  • Sup­port: 68% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 56%
    • Some­what sup­port: 12%
  • Oppose: 29%
    • Some­what oppose: 10%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 19%
  • Not sure: 3%

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 for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

Giv­en the toplines, it was not sur­pris­ing to see sup­port for per­mit-to-pur­chase among all age groups and in all regions of Wash­ing­ton State.

78% of like­ly vot­ers in King Coun­ty sup­port per­mit-to-pur­chase, along with 71% of vot­ers in North Puget Sound, 69% of South Sound vot­ers, 62% of vot­ers on the Olympic Penin­su­la or South­west Wash­ing­ton, and 53% of vot­ers in East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, the most Repub­li­can region of the state.

60% of inde­pen­dent vot­ers also sup­port per­mit-to-pur­chase, along with 91% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers. Repub­li­cans are split: 52% oppose the idea, but a sig­nif­i­cant minor­i­ty, 40%, they say sup­port it. 40% of Repub­li­can vot­ers in sup­port is a huge, huge per­cent­age for a gun safe­ty bill! It just goes to show that not every Repub­li­can vot­er agrees with the abso­lutist posi­tions of the NRA and gun lobby.

NPI has been research­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ sup­port for gun safe­ty bills for more than half a decade, and we have con­sis­tent­ly found robust majori­ties in sup­port of every pro­posed law that we have test­ed so far, including:

HB 1143 ranks as one of the most pop­u­lar ideas we’ve test­ed, with the sup­port of near­ly sev­en out of ten vot­ers. Leg­is­la­tors should act swift­ly to get this leg­is­la­tion to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s desk so it can be signed into law.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Gem State win: School privatization schemes fail in Idaho’s Republican-run Legislature

A right wing effort to autho­rize the diver­sion of pub­lic tax dol­lars into pri­vate­ly run schools has col­lapsed in the Repub­li­can-dom­i­nat­ed Ida­ho State Leg­is­la­ture, in a sig­nif­i­cant vic­to­ry for pub­lic edu­ca­tion and pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions work­ing to pro­tect and strength­en the com­mons of the Gem State.

Sen­ate Bill 1161, the pri­ma­ry vehi­cle for the effort, was with­drawn from a key com­mit­tee meet­ing agen­da this morn­ing “because there were not enough votes to pass it, and there is no alter­na­tive path for the bill to advance,” Luke Mayville of Reclaim Ida­ho explained in an email sent to sup­port­ers today.

Reclaim Idaho banner: Save our schools

A ban­ner from Reclaim Ida­ho call­ing on Gem Staters to con­tact their leg­is­la­tors in oppo­si­tion to vouch­ers (Graph­ic by Reclaim Idaho)

SB 1161 sought to cre­ate a school vouch­er “pilot pro­gram” and seed it with $30 mil­lion in pub­lic funds in Fis­cal Year 2024. Mayville told sup­port­ers the bill “would’ve opened the door in Ida­ho to a uni­ver­sal school vouch­er pro­gram — a pro­gram that would’ve drained mil­lions from our pub­lic schools.”

“Dur­ing the past year, pow­er­ful spe­cial inter­est groups have descend­ed on state leg­is­la­tures across the coun­try and rammed through uni­ver­sal vouch­er pro­grams in Ari­zona, Iowa, Utah, and else­where. In each and every one of these states, vouch­ers were imposed in the face of over­whelm­ing oppo­si­tion from the public.”

“But here in Ida­ho, we held the line,” Mayville continued.

“As hard as they tried, the spe­cial inter­est groups could not drown out the voic­es of thou­sands of cit­i­zens in every region of the state. For now, at least, Ida­ho will keep pub­lic dol­lars invest­ed in pub­lic schools.”

“We have been vis­it­ing with indi­vid­ual com­mit­tee mem­bers the past few days, search­ing for a way to advance the bill,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Wendy Hor­man, R‑Idaho Falls, in remarks report­ed by Ida­ho Edu­ca­tion News. “We heard back from the final com­mit­tee mem­bers around 5 PM yes­ter­day that was not a path they could sup­port, so we request­ed the bill be pulled from the agenda.”

Hor­man is the House lead on the leg­is­la­tion; Sen­a­tors Lori Den Har­tog and Chuck Winder are list­ed as its con­tacts in the Sen­ate. The bill bare­ly passed the Sen­ate last week, on a vote of 19–15. Speak­er Mike Moyle con­tem­plat­ed try­ing to route it around the Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, but ulti­mate­ly the bill end­ed up there and has now been shelved, with insuf­fi­cient votes to move it forward.

Repub­li­cans utter­ly dom­i­nate the Leg­is­la­ture in Ida­ho. The sev­en­ty-mem­ber House has just eleven Democ­rats, while the thir­ty-five mem­ber Sen­ate has a mere sev­en Democ­rats. Like Wash­ing­ton, law­mak­ers in Ida­ho are elect­ed from leg­isla­tive dis­tricts rather than House or Sen­ate districts.

Democ­rats lack the abil­i­ty to stop leg­is­la­tion in Ida­ho on their own, but by divid­ing the Repub­li­can cau­cus, they can thwart bad bills. That’s what hap­pened here.

In a relat­ed devel­op­ment, the House also opt­ed against putting a non­bind­ing plebiscite on the Novem­ber 2024 bal­lot that would have asked vot­ers to weigh in school pri­va­ti­za­tion. Ryan Suppe of the Ida­ho States­man reports:

Ida­ho Repub­li­cans this leg­isla­tive ses­sion have pitched a hand­ful of bills to cre­ate edu­ca­tion sav­ings accounts. That’s a mech­a­nism for fam­i­lies to col­lect pub­licly fund­ed tuition vouch­ers for pri­vate school­ing. None of the pro­pos­als have cleared the House and Senate.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lori McCann, R‑Lewiston, pro­posed a ques­tion on the Novem­ber 2024 bal­lot ask­ing vot­ers to weigh in on the debate. The advi­so­ry ques­tion would have no legal weight but would serve as a tool for law­mak­ers to gauge vot­er interest.

McCann is the vice chair of the House Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, which this ses­sion has blocked school vouch­er pro­pos­als from advanc­ing to the full House. The pro­posed ques­tion would have asked whether the state should direct “pub­lic tax dol­lars to pri­vate K‑12 schools, includ­ing pri­vate reli­gious schools, and for-prof­it schools.”

“This is to say to the peo­ple, ‘Are you com­fort­able with this? Do you want this or do you not want this?’” McCann told the House on Tuesday.

Oth­er Repub­li­cans object­ed to McCan­n’s pro­pos­al and it was dropped.

In con­junc­tion with the respect­ed firm Sur­veyUSA, the Ida­ho States­man last Novem­ber asked vot­ers about their thoughts on school vouch­ers, find­ing that more than three out of five vot­ers did not sup­port them.

The Octo­ber States­man poll asked 550 Ida­hoans, whose polit­i­cal affil­i­a­tions near­ly matched the statewide ratio of par­ti­san vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, “Should tax­pay­er mon­ey be used to help res­i­dents pay for pri­vate school edu­ca­tions? Or not?”

Accord­ing to the results, 63% of all adults sur­veyed said tax­pay­er mon­ey shouldn’t be used to help res­i­dents pay for pri­vate school, while 23% of respon­dents said it should be used. The remain­ing 14% of respon­dents said they weren’t sure.

With that data avail­able, McCann and oth­er Repub­li­cans hard­ly need to waste mon­ey to ascer­tain vot­ers’ views on school vouch­ers. The data is clear: vot­ers are opposed. But the idea isn’t going to go away, because Ida­ho Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors feel like they’re oblig­ed to lis­ten to the right wing think tanks and oth­er groups that des­per­ate­ly want to cre­ate a vouch­er pro­gram in the Gem State.

Ida­ho’s schools are already bad­ly under­fund­ed — a sor­ry state of affairs that Reclaim Ida­ho has been try­ing to get Repub­li­cans to take action on — but that does­n’t mat­ter to right wing forces. The Ida­ho Leg­is­la­ture is due to adjourn short­ly, but pri­va­ti­za­tion boost­ers will be back. It’s very impor­tant that pro­gres­sives con­tin­ue orga­niz­ing to defeat their next attempt when it comes.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Joe Biden heads to Ottawa: He and Canada’s Justin Trudeau have much to talk about

When then-Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden last vis­it­ed Ottawa, in 2016 as part of a vale­dic­to­ry trip, he was fet­ed at an elab­o­rate din­ner and effused that the Unit­ed States and Cana­da were “bet­ter posi­tioned than any time since the end of World War II” to pro­mote democ­ra­cy around the world.

Pres­i­dent Biden returns to Canada’s cap­i­tal on Thurs­day to a very dif­fer­ent world.

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has shut down economies. Russia’s auto­crat­ic ruler, Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, has launched a mil­i­tary inva­sion of Ukraine.

An emerg­ing super­pow­er, Chi­na, is men­ac­ing its neigh­bors and send­ing recon­nais­sance bal­loons over North America.

Refugees are flee­ing a once-demo­c­ra­t­ic Venezuela.

Haiti is in anarchy.

Biden and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau will have much to talk about.

Both have backed Ukraine’s resis­tance against Vlad the Invad­er. But the Unit­ed States is press­ing Cana­da to increase mil­i­tary spend­ing in sup­port of NORAD (the North Amer­i­can Air Defense Command).

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Cana­di­an Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau (Offi­cial Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment photo)

“I think Cana­da and the Unit­ed States agree on the need for enhanced spend­ing in the defense space,” David Cohen, U.S. Ambas­sador to Cana­da, told CBC in a pre-sum­mit interview.

It is tra­di­tion for a new U.S. pres­i­dent to make his first for­eign vis­it to the Great White North. Due to COVID, how­ev­er, the get togeth­er in Feb­ru­ary of 2021 took place by video con­fer­ence. The vis­its are a form of recog­ni­tion val­ued by Cana­da. The two coun­tries share 4,000-plus miles of the world’s longest peace­time border.

The Biden trip fol­lows years of acri­mo­ny with Trump in office.

Just before a 2018 G7 con­fer­ence in Charlevoix, Que­bec, Biden’s pre­de­ces­sor slapped a twen­ty-five per­cent tar­iff on Cana­di­an steel plus a ten per­cent tar­iff on alu­minum, part of his “Amer­i­ca First” trade policy.

Trudeau described the tar­iffs as “insult­ing” but empha­sized con­tin­ued col­le­gial­i­ty with the U.S. Trump blew up on the flight back to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and described the Cana­di­an prime min­is­ter as “so meek and mild” as well as “very dis­hon­est and weak.”

The insults out of right field have continued.

When a “Free­dom Con­voy” of truck­ers occu­pied down­town Ottawa in Feb­ru­ary of 2022, protest­ing vac­cine require­ments, Trump described Trudeau as a “far left lunatic who has destroyed Cana­da with insane COVID man­dates.” FNC pun­dits have show­ered the prime min­is­ter with abuse then and since.

The Biden admin­is­tra­tion has moved to heal relations.

After the 2021 video con­fer­ence, the pres­i­dent told reporters: “Cana­da and the Unit­ed States are going to work in lock­step to dis­play the seri­ous­ness of our com­mit­ments both home and abroad.”

Ambas­sador Cohen, play­ing Sher­pa for the approach­ing sum­mit, told CBC: “He (Biden) likes Cana­da, he cares about Cana­da, and the Unit­ed States cares about Cana­da.” To which Kirsten Hill­man, Canada’s ambas­sador in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., respond­ed, “We’re sources of strength for each other.”

(Hill­man works out of Canada’s embassy on Penn­syl­va­nia Avenue, a strik­ing build­ing designed by Van­cou­ver archi­tect Arthur Erick­son, with a sculp­ture, “The Spir­it of Hai­da Gwaii, the Black Canoe,” by British Colum­bia Hai­da artist Bill Reid. Then-Prime Min­is­ter Bri­an Mul­roney remarked, in a 1988 vis­it, that the ambassador’s digs were far more hand­some than the PM’s office in Ottawa.)

What else is on the table? The two lead­ers are expect­ed to talk about the depth to which they should inter­vene in Haiti, and what to do about gangs run­ning ram­pant. Biden and Trudeau are both com­mit­ted to action on climate.

They are expect­ed to dis­cuss crit­i­cal min­er­als need­ed for car bat­ter­ies and semi-con­duc­tors. Cana­da is edgy about our Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act, and what role it is to play in the U.S. com­mit­ment to clean ener­gy development.

The Biden deci­sion to kill the Key­stone XL pipeline stirred ran­cor in Canada’s ener­gy indus­try. The pipeline was designed to trans­port Alber­ta tar sands oil, run­ning south through “the States” to export ter­mi­nals on the Gulf Coast.

Chi­na spy­ing is sure to come up, because the recon­nais­sance bal­loon trav­eled over Cana­da on its jour­ney from Alas­ka to the U.S. Trudeau is fac­ing a mini scan­dal over alle­ga­tions of a clum­sy Chi­nese inter­ven­tion in Canada’s 2021 elec­tion, sup­pos­ed­ly sup­port­ing a can­di­date of his gov­ern­ing Lib­er­al Party.

Curi­ous­ly, trans-bound­ary issues gen­er­al­ly get a back seat. The big salmon fish­ery of South­east Alas­ka faces a poten­tial threat from mines along major rivers – the Unuk, Taku and Stikine – which orig­i­nate upstream in British Columbia.

The Colville Indi­ans and con­ser­va­tion groups wor­ry about expan­sion of a big cop­per mine near Prince­ton, B.C., on the Sim­ilka­meen Riv­er, which flows south to join the Okanogan Riv­er in north cen­tral Washington.

Hav­ing entered office in 2015, Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau has wit­nessed the Oba­ma, Biden and Trump admin­is­tra­tions. His father, Prime Min­is­ter Pierre Elliott Trudeau, dealt – some­times con­tentious­ly — with the admin­is­tra­tions of Pres­i­dents Lyn­don John­son, Richard Nixon, Ger­ald Ford, Jim­my Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Biden will address Canada’s Par­lia­ment before fly­ing home. Vis­its take on the per­son­al­i­ties of pres­i­dents. A tree plant­ed on Par­lia­ment Hill by Richard Nixon, as a sym­bol of the coun­tries’ friend­ship, grew up crooked.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Voters in WA agree: Manufacturer-imposed barriers to device repair are a problem

Vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State are in over­whelm­ing agree­ment that the prac­tice of many large elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers to restrict access to the nec­es­sary parts and infor­ma­tion to make repairs on phones and lap­top com­put­ers is a prob­lem, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s most recent statewide sur­vey has found.

69% of 874 like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers inter­viewed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling ear­li­er this month said that they agreed that the planned obso­les­cence busi­ness prac­tices of firms like Apple and Sam­sung were a prob­lem, with only 15% dis­agree­ing and 16% not sure. The per­cent­age of those in agree­ment per­fect­ly match­es the per­cent­age we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly found in sup­port of right to repair leg­is­la­tion in Wash­ing­ton State, demon­strat­ing strong and sus­tained sup­port.

Visualization of NPI's March 2023 right to repair poll finding

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s March 2023 right to repair poll find­ing (NPI graphic)

This morn­ing, the Sen­ate Envi­ron­ment, Ener­gy & Tech­nol­o­gy Com­mit­tee heard House Bill 1392, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mia Gregerson (D‑33rd Dis­trict: South King Coun­ty). As sum­ma­rized by non­par­ti­san staff in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, HB 1392 “requires man­u­fac­tur­ers of dig­i­tal elec­tron­ic equip­ment [but not cars and med­ical devices] to make avail­able to inde­pen­dent repair providers (IRPs) cer­tain parts, tools, and doc­u­men­ta­tion on fair and rea­son­able terms for the diag­no­sis, main­te­nance, and repair of dig­i­tal elec­tron­ic equipment.”

HB 1392 — dubbed the Fair Repair Act for short — passed the House on a vote of 58–38 on March 4th. It must receive a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion from the Sen­ate Envi­ron­ment Com­mit­tee by March 29th to remain active this session.

Pri­or to HB 1392’s con­sid­er­a­tion in the Sen­ate, we want­ed to find out if vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton agree or dis­agree with right to repair pro­po­nents that this leg­is­la­tion address­es a real prob­lem that peo­ple are hav­ing with their electronics.

So we asked this ques­tion and got these responses:

QUESTION: Elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers like Apple and Sam­sung have a his­to­ry of restrict­ing access to the nec­es­sary parts and infor­ma­tion to make repairs on phones and lap­top com­put­ers. Do you strong­ly agree, some­what agree, some­what dis­agree, or strong­ly dis­agree that this is a problem?


  • Agree: 69%
    • Strong­ly agree: 45%
    • Some­what agree: 24%
  • Dis­agree: 15% 
    • Some­what dis­agree: 9%
    • Strong­ly dis­agree: 6%
  • Not sure: 16%

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 for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

NPI Leg­isla­tive Direc­tor Kathy Saka­hara tes­ti­fied in sup­port of HB 1392 this morn­ing, pre­sent­ing this research and not­ing that vot­ers have been con­sis­tent. What’s also remark­able, in addi­tion to the con­sis­ten­cy of sup­port, is that right to repair is a bipar­ti­san cause — not a dynam­ic we see for every issue. Majori­ties of Repub­li­cans, inde­pen­dents, and Democ­rats all agree that man­u­fac­tur­ers restrict­ing access to parts and infor­ma­tion need­ed to make repairs is a problem.

Breakdown by party and region 

By par­ty affil­i­a­tion: 53% of Repub­li­can vot­ers agree that elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ers’ his­to­ry of restrict­ing access to parts and infor­ma­tion is a prob­lem, joined by 68% of inde­pen­dents and 78% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic voters.

By region: 63% of vot­ers sur­veyed in East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton also agree, joined by 73% of vot­ers sur­veyed in the Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Wash­ing­ton. These are the rur­al areas of our state, and folks there under­stand­ably want to keep their gear in good work­ing order, whether that’s an Apple iPhone or a trac­tor from John Deere. Urban and sub­ur­ban vot­ers agree too: 71% in King Coun­ty, 71% in North Puget Sound, and 70% in the South Sound.

People should be able to get their broken devices fixed

Dur­ing today’s hear­ing, a num­ber of indus­try spokes­peo­ple argued that right to repair leg­is­la­tion would be prob­lem­at­ic from a cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and pri­va­cy per­spec­tive. For the record, they’re wrong. Mak­ing it eas­i­er for peo­ple to get their devices repaired does not increase any cyber­se­cu­ri­ty or pri­va­cy risks to users.

Most com­put­ers and mobile devices, includ­ing those sold by Apple and Sam­sung, offer built-in strong encryp­tion. Users should have that encryp­tion turned on to pro­tect their data in case of device loss or theft at all times. No encryp­tion means your data is at risk, includ­ing from tech­ni­cians who work for the very same com­pa­nies employ­ing lob­by­ists to oppose this right to repair legislation.

It’s under­stand­able that peo­ple want to be able to fix their devices when they break, and they should be able to. The indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives who spoke today  neglect­ed to men­tion that com­pa­nies like Apple have poli­cies in place that pre­vent their employ­ees from help­ing some­one who comes into a retail store with a bro­ken prod­uct that is past its “life­cy­cle” but could still work if it was repaired.

Cuper­ti­no even man­dates that Apple Stores get rid of the tools required to open up and work on old­er prod­ucts (iMac, iPhone, iPad, etc.) and Apple employ­ees are not autho­rized to do any repair work on old­er prod­ucts for “lia­bil­i­ty reasons.”

Accord­ing­ly, if an Apple prod­uct is too old to be eli­gi­ble for ser­vice at an Apple Store, Apple employ­ees will tell a cus­tomer that their only recourse is to go to an inde­pen­dent repair shop and get help there. Yet, those same inde­pen­dent repair shops strug­gle to get the parts and infor­ma­tion nec­es­sary to help peo­ple who want their devices, old or new, restored to good work­ing order.

We can improve this sor­ry state of affairs and reduce elec­tron­ic waste by adopt­ing HB 1392. Wash­ing­to­ni­ans want the Fair Repair Act. They want to be able to fix their things, and our laws should empow­er them to be able to do so.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

NPI’s bill to scrap Tim Eyman’s push polls advances to the House Rules Committee

NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to make it eas­i­er to vote in Wash­ing­ton by abol­ish­ing Tim Eyman’s advi­so­ry votes push polls has cleared anoth­er leg­isla­tive hurdle.

By a vote of 4–3, with Democ­rats in favor and Repub­li­cans opposed, the House State Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee gave Sen­ate Bill 5082 a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion, send­ing it up to the House Rules Com­mit­tee for fur­ther consideration.

Prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er, D‑48th Dis­trict (Red­mond, Kirk­land, Belle­vue, Med­i­na, the Points com­mu­ni­ties) SB 5082 would spare Wash­ing­ton vot­ers from hav­ing any more of their valu­able tax dol­lars spent on anti-tax ads dressed up to look like real bal­lot mea­sures, but which have no effect on state fis­cal pol­i­cy and are loaded with prej­u­di­cial, inflam­ma­to­ry wording.

5082 replaces what are real­ly push polls with a reg­u­lar­ly updat­ed online pre­sen­ta­tion con­tain­ing accu­rate, use­ful infor­ma­tion about the Leg­is­la­ture’s fis­cal deci­sions, acces­si­ble from the voter’s pam­phlet via a quick response (QR) code, a web address (URL), and a tele­phone number.

A bipar­ti­san major­i­ty of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate sent the bill over to the House last month. It then received a hear­ing on March 10th, at which NPI and many oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that work on vot­ing jus­tice spoke in favor of it.

Today, the bill took anoth­er crit­i­cal step for­ward on its jour­ney towards hope­ful­ly becom­ing the law of the land of the State of Washington.

The roll call on the bill in House State Gov­ern­ment was as follows:

Sup­port­ing a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Bill Ramos (Chair), Chris Stearns (Vice Chair), Mia Gregerson, Sharlett Mena

Offer­ing a “do not pass” rec­om­men­da­tion: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Peter Abbarno (Rank­ing Mem­ber), Leonard Christian

With­out rec­om­men­da­tion: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sam Low

Repub­li­cans pro­posed a slew of amend­ments seek­ing to gut the bill and save Eyman’s “advi­so­ry votes” — at least in some form. The com­mit­tee reject­ed all of the Repub­li­can amend­ments and kept the bill that passed the Sen­ate intact, pre­serv­ing its intent and pro­vi­sions, which our team deeply appreciates.

Dur­ing the debate over the bill, Repub­li­cans Peter Abbarno, Leonard Chris­t­ian, and Sam Low spoke repeat­ed­ly of try­ing to fix prob­lems with “advi­so­ry votes” that were iden­ti­fied in tes­ti­mo­ny with their amendments.

But “advi­so­ry votes” can’t be fixed. They are con­cep­tu­al­ly flawed.

The bal­lot is the mech­a­nism by which we make the impor­tant deci­sions about who rep­re­sents us and what laws or plan of gov­ern­ment we should have. It’s sim­ply not an appro­pri­ate place for adver­tis­ing or polling of any kind.

That’s why SB 5082 does­n’t both­er with try­ing to save Eyman’s push polls. Instead, it gets rid of them because they don’t belong there.

Imag­ine if Democ­rats fol­lowed the prece­dent of I‑960 and vot­ed into law their own crop of auto­mat­i­cal­ly-trig­gered “advi­so­ry votes.” For instance, an advi­so­ry vote could be trig­gered every time a bill was passed that affect­ed repro­duc­tive rights, ask­ing if the law should be approved or dis­ap­proved, and pre­scrib­ing a loaded ques­tion that invit­ed vot­ers to vote “Approved” on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic bills.

Repub­li­cans would be fierce­ly opposed. No question.

Giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to save mil­lions of tax dol­lars and elim­i­nate some­thing that is def­i­nite­ly not a core func­tion of gov­ern­ment, three House Repub­li­cans said no today. Because it turns out that as far as they’re con­cerned, wast­ing tax dol­lars is a‑okay if that waste is ben­e­fit­ing a right wing, anti-tax agenda.

Abbarno, Low, and Chris­t­ian also kept bring­ing up how Ini­tia­tive 960 (the Eyman ini­tia­tive that orig­i­nal­ly cre­at­ed “advi­so­ry votes”) was approved by vot­ers and is there­fore sacro­sanct. They seemed not to appre­ci­ate the irony that they them­selves were seek­ing to dras­ti­cal­ly change I‑960 through their amendments.

For instance, one of their ideas was to roll “advi­so­ry votes” into a sin­gle bal­lot item — one com­bined big piece of anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da. Anoth­er pro­pos­al spec­i­fied that leg­isla­tive lead­ers should decide when an “advi­so­ry vote” goes on the bal­lot. There’s no way Tim Eyman would sup­port a bill mak­ing such changes. He would say it was a betray­al of what the vot­ers vot­ed for with I‑960.

But it’s the Leg­is­la­ture’s job to reg­u­lar­ly update our laws — includ­ing the laws the peo­ple passed through the ini­tia­tive process — to make sure that Wash­ing­ton is well served by them. If a law turns out to not be in the pub­lic inter­est, the Leg­is­la­ture has a duty to take action. That’s why we have a Legislature.

NPI has four years of statewide and local polling show­ing that vot­ers who have an opin­ion want “advi­so­ry votes” repealed — and we made sure to ask a neu­tral ques­tion so we could find out what peo­ple real­ly think about them. So we can say with con­fi­dence that vot­ers are enthused about get­ting Sen­ate Bill 5082 passed.

Not many peo­ple know that for sev­er­al years after I‑960 was passed (it appeared in the bal­lot of Novem­ber of 2007), there were no “advi­so­ry votes”. Our then statewide Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials Sam Reed and Rob McKen­na and their staffs for­got to imple­ment that pro­vi­sion of I‑960 and nobody flagged their mistake.

Let me reit­er­ate: The first Eyman push polls did­n’t appear on the bal­lot until 2012, because no one — not even Tim Eyman — remem­bered that they existed.

Nobody missed “advi­so­ry votes” when they weren’t on the bal­lot in 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011. Sim­i­lar­ly, with the excep­tion of right wing oper­a­tives like Tim Eyman and Eyman’s fans, nobody is going to miss them after they’re repealed.

Tuesday, March 21st, 2023

Two-thirds of Washington voters support barring gender-based price discrimination

Youth-cham­pi­oned leg­is­la­tion in Olympia that would pro­hib­it gen­der-based price dis­crim­i­na­tion is extreme­ly pop­u­lar with Wash­ing­ton vot­ers, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s most recent statewide sur­vey has found.

67% of 874 like­ly vot­ers inter­viewed ear­li­er this month by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling voiced sup­port for pro­hibit­ing peo­ple or busi­ness­es “from charg­ing dif­fer­ent prices for two sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar goods based on the gen­der of the per­sons to whom the goods are mar­ket­ed,” which is what Sen­ate Bill 5171 would do if enact­ed. 59% were strong­ly sup­port­ive and anoth­er 8% were some­what supportive.

22% said they were opposed to the idea, while 11% said they were not sure.

SB 5171 passed the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate on March 7th by a vote of 27 to 21. It is being heard this after­noon in the House Com­mit­tee on Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion & Busi­ness. To advance, it must be report­ed out with a “do pass” rec­om­men­da­tion before the cut-off on Wednes­day, March 29th.

Prime-spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Man­ka Dhin­gra, the bill is notable for being youth-orga­nized. Stu­dents from Lake Wash­ing­ton High School in Kirk­land brought the leg­is­la­tion to Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, who made it one of her 2023 pri­or­i­ties. A com­pan­ion bill was intro­duced by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sharlett Mena in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and had a hear­ing in late Jan­u­ary, but did not advance.

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

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose pass­ing a law that pro­hibits busi­ness­es from charg­ing dif­fer­ent prices for any two goods that are sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar based on gender?


  • Sup­port: 67% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 59%
    • Some­what sup­port: 8%
  • Oppose: 22%
    • Some­what oppose: 6%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 16%
  • Not sure: 11%

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 for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

With a sup­port to oppo­si­tion ratio of over 3:1, this is leg­is­la­tion that ought to have bipar­ti­san sup­port. How­ev­er, Repub­li­cans uni­form­ly opposed the bill on the floor of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, which is dis­ap­point­ing.

It might inter­est them and their House col­leagues to know that a plu­ral­i­ty of Repub­li­can vot­ers sup­port bar­ring gen­der-based price discrimination.

Specif­i­cal­ly, 41% of Repub­li­can vot­ers Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling inter­viewed for us said they sup­port­ed pro­hibit­ing busi­ness­es from charg­ing dif­fer­ent prices for any two goods that are sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar based on gen­der. 38% said they were opposed and 21% were not sure. That’s sig­nif­i­cant. Inde­pen­dent vot­ers were also very enthu­si­as­tic, with 59% of them express­ing sup­port for the bill along with 87% of Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers (80% strong­ly sup­port­ive, 7% somewhat).

Every region of the state is like­wise sup­port­ive, even Repub­li­can-ori­ent­ed East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, where sup­port totals 54%.

The Wash­ing­ton Retail Asso­ci­a­tion regret­tably oppos­es SB 5171 and plans to tes­ti­fy against the bill today. The Wash­ing­ton Food Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion, which pre­vi­ous­ly signed in against the bill, has signed in as “Oth­er” for today’s House hear­ing. The North­west Gro­cery Asso­ci­a­tion and Wal­greens are also opposed.

Join­ing the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and Lake Wash­ing­ton High stu­dents in sup­port­ing the bill are Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son’s office, the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Assis­tant Attor­neys Gen­er­al (AWAAG), the Wash­ing­ton State Asso­ci­a­tion for Jus­tice, Planned Par­ent­hood Alliance Advo­cates, Statewide Pover­ty Action Net­work, Hopelink, and the ACLU of Wash­ing­ton State.

Hope­ful­ly, the House will give this sen­si­ble leg­is­la­tion the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be con­sid­ered on the floor and pre­sent­ed to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee for his sig­na­ture. As far as most vot­ers are con­cerned, SB 5171 ought to be the law of the land already.

Monday, March 20th, 2023

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

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 a 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.

Sunday, March 19th, 2023

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 13th-17th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing March 17th, 2023.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

BRENT NEIMAN, ASSISTANT TREASURY SECRETARY: The Sen­ate on March 15th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Brent Neiman to be the Trea­sury Depart­men­t’s Assis­tant Sec­re­tary for Inter­na­tion­al Finance and Devel­op­ment. A for­mer staffer at a Fed­er­al Reserve bank and at the White House Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers, Neiman is cur­rent­ly an inter­na­tion­al eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go. The vote was 54 yeas to 40 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes

ERIC GARCETTI, AMBASSADOR TO INDIA: The Sen­ate on March 15th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Eric Garcetti to be U.S. ambas­sador to India. Garcetti had been the may­or of Los Ange­les from 2013 to late 2022, and pre­vi­ous­ly was a city coun­cilor for the city and a naval intel­li­gence offi­cer. An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Chuck Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, cit­ed “the seri­ous and cred­i­ble alle­ga­tions that he enabled sex­u­al harass­ment and racism to run ram­pant in the Los Ange­les may­or’s office.” The vote was 52 yeas to 42 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

RAVI CHAUDHARY, AIR FORCE ASSISTANT SECRETARY: The Sen­ate has con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Ravi Chaud­hary to be the Air Force’s Assis­tant Sec­re­tary for Instal­la­tions, Ener­gy, and the Envi­ron­ment. Chaud­hary was an Air Force pilot and offi­cer from 1993 to 2015; he then became a senior offi­cial at the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion. The vote was 65 yeas to 29 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

JESSICA G.L. CLARKE, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on March 16th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Jes­si­ca G.L. Clarke to be a judge on the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the South­ern Dis­trict of New York. Clarke has been a civ­il rights lawyer in the New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al’s Office since 2019; she was a civ­il rights lawyer in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. A sup­port­er, Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑N.Y., said Clarke “is a great civ­il rights lawyer, and I am cer­tain she will make an excel­lent mem­ber of the fed­er­al bench.”

The vote was 48 yeas to 43 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House is slat­ed to take up the “Par­ents Bill of Rights Act” this week, and may also try to over­ride Pres­i­dent Biden’s veto of House Joint Res­o­lu­tion 30.

The Sen­ate will resume con­sid­er­a­tion of S.316, which would repeal the autho­riza­tions for use of mil­i­tary force against Iraq, post-cloture.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2023 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Saturday, March 18th, 2023

Tim Eyman has quit pitching initiatives and pivoted to lobbying against progressive bills

Late in the morn­ing of Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 2nd, 2023, a curi­ous­ly word­ed email arrived in the mail­box­es of thou­sands of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from Tim Eyman, who needs no intro­duc­tion to reg­u­lar read­ers of The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, but who could be described very sim­ply as one of Wash­ing­ton’s best-known right wing politi­cians for those new to or unfa­mil­iar with Ever­green State politics.

The email declared that Eyman had been cut off from all of his old address­es and that there was only one email address he could now be reached at, asso­ci­at­ed with the web­site set up for his legal defense fund,

“You can text / email me any­time at: [num­ber redact­ed] but when it comes to email, send­ing email to [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], [redacted], or oth­ers means I’ll nev­er get it. Yes, it’s a pain in the arse, but it is what it is,” Eyman wrote.

He did not elab­o­rate fur­ther or explain what had caused him to lose access to his Google, Yahoo, Pro­ton, and Com­cast accounts simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.

Tim Eyman, account restricted

Tim Eyman also claimed his social net­work­ing accounts had been locked, and base­less­ly spec­u­lat­ed that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son was to blame (Image from Tim Eyman email)

NPI looked for evi­dence of a court order or oth­er action that might explain what Eyman could pos­si­bly be refer­ring to by imply­ing that his email accounts had all been tak­en away from him, but we found noth­ing. Noth­ing at all.

There were a few oth­er inter­est­ing aspects of Eyman’s first mis­sive of 2023.

One was that this mes­sage came from a dif­fer­ent MailChimp account than the one he had been using to send his pre­vi­ous mass emails.

Anoth­er was that the mes­sage lacked a pitch for dona­tions to Eyman’s polit­i­cal com­mit­tee, Per­ma­nent Offense, which is now sup­pos­ed­ly under the juris­dic­tion of two friends of Eyman named Lar­ry Jensen and Sid Maietto.

Up until Christ­mas­time 2022, when Eyman sent his final email of the year ask­ing for mon­ey, his mis­sives had includ­ed stan­dard ver­biage from “Lar­ry & Sid” ask­ing for mon­ey for Per­ma­nent Offense. The text of that bit was:

We’re ask­ing folks to donate to our PAC so we can keep fight­ing for tax­pay­ers with Jim Wal­sh’s ini­tia­tive I‑1491, the stop all income tax­es ini­tia­tive.

The tax­pay­ers of Wash­ing­ton need our help now more than ever. Donate to our polit­i­cal com­mit­tee so we can keep fight­ing for you:

Mail your check — made payable to “Per­ma­nent Offense I‑1491” — to: Per­ma­nent Offense, PO Box 6151, Olympia, WA, 98507
Or donate online:

Kind­est Regards,

Sid Mai­et­to & Lar­ry Jensen

Begin­ning Jan­u­ary 2nd, this appeal dis­ap­peared (Jim Wal­sh’s I‑1491 failed to qual­i­fy, hav­ing nev­er got­ten off the ground) and so did the Donate page on Per­ma­nent Offense’s web­site. If you go there, you’ll get a Page Not Found error because it has been tak­en offline. Yes, that’s right: tak­en offline!

What’s more, Per­ma­nent Offense has­n’t report­ed a sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion or expen­di­ture for all of 2023. The PDC’s web­site rolled the com­mit­tee’s reg­is­tra­tion over into 2023, but no reports have been filed this year.

The com­mit­tee end­ed 2022 with a bal­ance of $25,741.96, accord­ing to its last amend­ed C4 report, which was filed Jan­u­ary 10th, 2023. It is appar­ent­ly now inop­er­a­tive, judg­ing by the take­down of its dona­tion page and the removal of the “Lar­ry & Sid” pitch from Eyman’s emails. Eyman is still fundrais­ing, but only for him­self and his legal defense fund — not for Per­ma­nent Offense.

And unlike in recent years, Eyman isn’t try­ing to pre­tend that’s he’s doing a sig­na­ture dri­ve for a new scheme to defund pub­lic ser­vices or wreck gov­ern­ment despite not hav­ing access to wealthy bene­fac­tors will­ing to restart his ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry. He’s still fil­ing ini­tia­tives by the buck­et­load — in fact, of the sev­en­ty-six ini­tia­tives filed so far this year, a whop­ping six­ty-four are his.

(Eyman likes to file mul­ti­ple sim­i­lar iter­a­tions of a scheme in the hopes of get­ting a good bal­lot title, an abu­sive prac­tice known as bal­lot title shop­ping that needs to be pro­hib­it­ed through the adop­tion of ini­tia­tive reform legislation.)

How­ev­er, Eyman isn’t pitch­ing any of these schemes in pub­lic. Every sin­gle one of his emails going back to the begin­ning of the year has con­cerned either state leg­is­la­tion or pol­i­cy at the local lev­el, like in Camas, Washington.

We have no doubt Eyman would like to return to being an ini­tia­tive pitch­man; his bal­lot title shop­ping demon­strates that he’d rather be try­ing to qual­i­fy some­thing bad to the bal­lot right now than mak­ing trips to Olympia to yell at leg­is­la­tors from the tes­ti­mo­ny table. But he can’t. And he knows he can’t.

Statewide ini­tia­tives require huge resources, and Eyman is broke.

Eyman’s ini­tia­tive fac­to­ry is no longer mere­ly idle, it has com­plete­ly crum­bled to the ground. The sec­ond incar­na­tion of his bud­dies’ cor­rupt peti­tion­ing busi­ness Cit­i­zen Solu­tions (which once han­dled his sig­na­ture dri­ves annu­al­ly) was admin­is­tra­tive­ly dis­solved by the state in 2020, his past wealthy bene­fac­tors have either passed on or aban­doned him, and he is barred by court order from fly­ing solo as a polit­i­cal com­mit­tee offi­cer with no over­sight, as he did for so many years.

Eyman tried run­ning for gov­er­nor in 2020 after he real­ized that I‑976 (his scheme to gut Sound Tran­sit and ruin mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture across Wash­ing­ton) was not going to be imple­ment­ed. But his cam­paign flopped. Vot­ers reject­ed Eyman’s can­di­da­cy and he did­n’t make it out of the Top Two.

Eyman then became a sur­ro­gate for fel­low grifter Loren Culp, who also went on to lose in 2020 along with their mutu­al idol, the insur­rec­tion­ist inciter Don­ald Trump.

After the 2020 cycle, Eyman tried a few times to get his old ini­tia­tive busi­ness rolling again, even mak­ing pub­lic pleas for new wealthy bene­fac­tors to come forth and pro­vide mon­ey for him­self, Lar­ry, and Sid to use in procur­ing sig­na­tures. Those pleas went unan­swered and Eyman’s schemes went nowhere.

After so many years of try­ing the “fake it till you make it” approach to get­ting back into the ini­tia­tives busi­ness, Eyman seems to have giv­en up.

Nei­ther I nor any­one else on our team can recall this much time hav­ing passed where Eyman was­n’t solic­it­ing mon­ey for a cam­paign, be it an ini­tia­tive he want­ed to do or his failed guber­na­to­r­i­al run. Instead of pitch­ing bad right wing stuff, Eyman is busy try­ing to get Repub­li­can PCOs and oth­er right wing activists to oppose leg­is­la­tion they don’t like in Olympia. Here’s a list of the major 2023 bills Eyman has either spo­ken against or urged his fol­low­ers to help him defeat:

  • SB 5082 / HB 1158: This is NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to repeal Eyman’s advi­so­ry votes push polls — the anti-tax pro­pa­gan­da items that auto­mat­i­cal­ly appear on Wash­ing­to­ni­ans’ bal­lots if the Leg­is­la­ture does any­thing to increase rev­enue. SB 5082 received a bipar­ti­san vote in the state Sen­ate and is now mov­ing along in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (HB 1158 was the com­pan­ion bill). Nat­u­ral­ly, Eyman is furi­ous­ly opposed to it.
  • SB 5723: This is NPI’s leg­is­la­tion to allow cities to move their reg­u­lar­ly sched­uled elec­tions to even years if they want. It’s a new idea that has got­ten a lot of inter­est; Eyman was the only per­son to speak against it. It was not con­sid­ered before cut­off and is now in the Sen­ate Rules “X” file; but it could eas­i­ly be revived in 2024 and select­ed for floor action.
  • SB 5486 / HB 1473: This is the tax on extreme wealth intro­duced by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive My-Linh Thai and Sen­a­tor Noel Frame, cham­pi­oned by EOI, NPI, the Wash­ing­ton Bud­get & Pol­i­cy Cen­ter, and a long list of pro­gres­sive orga­ni­za­tions that want to bal­ance our tax code. Though Eyman is now poor, he absolute­ly despis­es this bill, per­haps part­ly on behalf of the wealthy right wing folk that he wish­es would give him mon­ey but keep ignor­ing him.
  • SB 5284: This is leg­is­la­tion NPI has tes­ti­fied for that would update sec­tions of Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, which are col­lec­tive­ly known as Chap­ter 42.17A RCW. Eyman knows all about this sec­tion of the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton because he’s been con­vict­ed of seri­ous­ly vio­lat­ing it.
  • HB 1589: This bill would reduce the North­west­’s depen­dence on petro­le­um gas, a dirty fos­sil fuel, by bar­ring large util­i­ties like Puget Sound Ener­gy from accept­ing new res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial gas hookups after June 30th of this year. To man­age the tran­si­tion away from gas for cook­ing and heat­ing, it spec­i­fies a process for merg­ing the rate bases sup­port­ing gas and elec­tric oper­a­tions of a com­bi­na­tion util­i­ty into a sin­gle rate base.
  • HB 1389: This is a ten­ant pro­tec­tion bill that would restrict by how much land­lords can raise rents with­in a giv­en year. Specif­i­cal­ly, the bill pro­hibits, in most cas­es, “a land­lord from increas­ing the rent for a ten­an­cy sub­ject to the Res­i­den­tial Land­lord-Ten­ant Act or the Manufactured/Mobile Home Land­lord-Ten­ant Act dur­ing any 12-month peri­od in an amount greater than the rate of infla­tion as mea­sured by the Con­sumer Price Index or 3 per­cent, whichev­er is greater, up to a max­i­mum of 7 per­cent above the exist­ing rent.”
  • HB 1333: This bill would have cre­at­ed a thir­teen-mem­ber com­mis­sion on in-coun­try vio­lence extrem­ism. The bill is no longer mov­ing this ses­sion, but right wing blogs and orga­ni­za­tions have been furi­ous­ly lob­by­ing against it for weeks, denounc­ing it in the most absurd and hyber­bol­ic terms, and com­plete­ly dis­tort­ing the scope and pro­vi­sions of the leg­is­la­tion. Eyman decid­ed to join the big pile-on with gusto.
  • HB 1832: Estab­lish­es a vol­un­tary road usage charge (RUC) pro­gram that would become manda­to­ry in 2030. The goal is to replace declin­ing gas tax rev­enues as elec­tric cars replace those with inter­nal com­bus­tion engines and dri­ving decreas­es. Ore­gon has a road usage charge pilot pro­gram already with a few hun­dred active participants.
  • SB 5618: Amends Eyman’s prop­er­ty tax restrict­ing Ini­tia­tive 747 (unwise­ly rein­stat­ed by the Leg­is­la­ture and Gov­er­nor Gre­goire in a one-day spe­cial ses­sion in 2007) to stop the mea­sure from slow­ly chok­ing local gov­ern­ments to death as it has been doing for two decades.
  • HB 1628: This bill would mod­i­fy the real estate excise tax to raise more mon­ey for hous­ing. It advanced out of the Local Gov­ern­ment Com­mit­tee, but did­n’t get act­ed on in Finance. Spon­sored by Frank Chopp, it is sup­port­ed by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Cities, Hous­ing Devel­op­ment Con­sor­tium, and Habi­tat for Humanity.
Tim Eyman testifying remotely

When Tim Eyman tes­ti­fies remote­ly, he often does so with a Zoom back­ground of a pic­ture of him­self, which is just… weird. (Image from a TVW clip that Eyman uploaded)

In years past, Eyman con­fined his tes­ti­fy­ing and lob­by­ing to bills con­cern­ing ini­tia­tives or which sought to raise rev­enue to fund Wash­ing­ton’s essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices. But as you can see from the list above, Eyman has become a sort of jack of all right wing caus­es lob­by­ist, weigh­ing in against rent con­trol, updates to pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, and attempts to study and mon­i­tor mil­i­tant extremism.

This is like­ly to be his role in state pol­i­tics for what­ev­er is left of his career.

No wealthy per­son has any rea­son to trust Eyman with any sig­nif­i­cant amount of mon­ey and Eyman does­n’t have bud­dies he can fun­nel cash to for a sig­na­ture dri­ve. The Eyman ini­tia­tive error appears to be in the rearview mir­ror, hav­ing last­ed from 1998 until 2018, when Eyman raid­ed his retire­ment fund for one final sig­na­ture dri­ve that yield­ed anoth­er decep­tive ini­tia­tive, I‑976, men­tioned above.

I‑976, which our team was heav­i­ly involved in oppos­ing, was sup­posed to be a “Son of 695,” but it nev­er went into effect. After the Supreme Court struck it down, Democ­rats did not both­er try­ing to rein­state it, demon­strat­ing that at least one impor­tant les­son had been learned from the I‑695 disaster.

Friday, March 17th, 2023

King County Executive Dow Constantine has decided against running for governor in 2024

The top elect­ed offi­cial in Wash­ing­ton State’s largest local juris­dic­tion declared today that he has decid­ed against becom­ing a can­di­date for gov­er­nor in 2024 should incum­bent Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee choose not to seek a fourth term.

King County Executive Dow Constantine

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine (Cam­paign pub­lic­i­ty photo)

Dow Con­stan­tine, six­ty-one, has been King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive since 2009, hand­i­ly win­ning reelec­tion three times (2013, 2017, 2021). He had pre­vi­ous­ly expressed inter­est in run­ning for the state’s top job.

But today, in an email to sup­port­ers, he declared that he won’t be a can­di­date if the posi­tion comes open next year.

“Not infre­quent­ly, peo­ple kind­ly ask whether I would run for Gov­er­nor in 2024 if Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee choos­es not to seek re-elec­tion,” Con­stan­tine said.

“Gov­er­nor is an impor­tant office, and Jay is doing great work, day-in and day-out, for Wash­ing­ton State — and lead­ing the nation on the crit­i­cal issue of climate.”

“While I hope he is will­ing to con­tin­ue, he should be giv­en the grace to make his own deci­sion on his own time­line,” the mes­sage went on to say.

“But I’ve made my deci­sion. Hav­ing giv­en it thor­ough con­sid­er­a­tion, I have con­clud­ed that the answer is no, I would not run. I’m not will­ing to set aside all that we’re achiev­ing right now — the full-time work that I’m pas­sion­ate about — in favor of full-time fundrais­ing and cam­paign­ing. I am grate­ful to serve as Exec­u­tive of one of the nation’s largest, most pro­gres­sive, most inno­v­a­tive juris­dic­tions, and I’m com­mit­ted to see­ing my many local, region­al, and nation­al ini­tia­tives through.
I’m count­ing on your con­tin­ued sup­port to make that possible!”

Con­stan­ti­ne’s announce­ment comes a day after the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute released polling show­ing that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son, a fel­low Demo­c­rat, has three times as much ear­ly sup­port as either Con­stan­tine or Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz, anoth­er prospec­tive can­di­date. Fer­gu­son received 21% in response to our ques­tion, which asked vot­ers about a pure­ly hypo­thet­i­cal field — one that I not­ed does­n’t exist now and may nev­er exist.

With respect to the four elect­ed offi­cials who appeared in our ques­tion, which respon­dents saw on March 7th and 8th, Fer­gu­son, Franz, Con­stan­tine, and Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Bruce Dammeier (a Repub­li­can), I wrote: “It is pos­si­ble that some of them won’t run — it’s even pos­si­ble that none of them will run. We don’t know the future and don’t pre­tend to, so I won’t offer any predictions.”

Today’s news demon­strates this point. It’s a cru­cial ear­ly development.

For Democ­rats, it means the intra­mur­al round of the guber­na­to­r­i­al race is more like­ly to be a com­pe­ti­tion between just two major con­tenders (Fer­gu­son and Franz) as opposed to a more com­pli­cat­ed race with three or more cred­i­ble Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates vying for mon­ey, endorse­ments, and even­tu­al­ly votes.

I not­ed yes­ter­day that our polling “indi­cates that there could be an open­ing for either Franz or Con­stan­tine to wage a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign, par­tic­u­lar­ly if one of them decid­ed to for­go run­ning, result­ing in just two cred­i­ble Democ­rats com­pet­ing for time, tal­ent, trea­sure, and votes in the elim­i­na­tion round.”

(Empha­sis is mine).

Today, Con­stan­tine declared he’s out. That’s a big deal for Hilary Franz. It leaves her as the only major alter­na­tive to Fer­gu­son. Our team thinks she’s now got more of a lane in which to run, again assum­ing that Gov­er­nor Inslee retires… which Con­stan­tine, a four-ter­mer him­self, seems to be hop­ing that he won’t do.

We are like­ly only weeks away from fur­ther devel­op­ments, includ­ing an announce­ment of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s plans.

Friday, March 17th, 2023

Democrats in Washington lost ground with Latino voters despite 2022 wins, data shows

Edi­tor’s Note: Guest con­trib­u­tor Andrew Hong is a data sci­ence stu­dent at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty and life­long Wash­ing­ton­ian from South Seat­tle. He has pre­vi­ous­ly worked as a cam­paign con­sul­tant, com­mu­ni­ty orga­niz­er, statewide coor­di­na­tor of Redis­trict­ing Jus­tice for Wash­ing­ton, and cur­rent­ly serves as a Research Data Ana­lyst at the Wash­ing­ton Com­mu­ni­ty Alliance Data Hub. Andrew can be reached at this email address with any inquiries. NPI is delight­ed to be able to share his time­ly and well researched elec­toral analy­sis in this guest post. 

One of the biggest polit­i­cal shocks in 2020 was the Lati­no vote shift­ing to the Repub­li­can Par­ty, with some coun­ties in Tex­as­’s Rio Grande Val­ley shift­ing toward Trump by as high as 50%. Wash­ing­ton’s Lati­nos large­ly bucked that trend in 2020. But in 2022, the Lati­no con­ser­v­a­tive wave reached the Ever­green State.

By ana­lyz­ing data from the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau and Sec­re­tary of State’s 2022 elec­tion results by vot­ing precinct, I’ve esti­mat­ed the mag­ni­tude of the Lati­no Repub­li­can shift was well into dou­ble dig­its. I also mod­eled the degree to which this shift came from depressed Lati­no turnout or his­­tor­i­­cal­­ly-Demo­c­ra­t­ic Lati­no vot­ers cross­ing par­ty lines, which I will expand on fur­ther below.

Democ­rats and pro­gres­sives should care deeply about the Lati­no vote. Lati­nos make up the state’s largest minor­i­ty racial group, and are fast grow­ing in Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton where they form majori­ties in mul­ti­ple counties.

For exam­ple, in Yaki­ma Coun­ty, Lati­nos make up a major­i­ty (51%) of the pop­u­la­tion, up from 36% just twen­ty years pri­or. These com­mu­ni­ties have his­tor­i­cal­ly made up a key part of the Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats’ mul­tira­cial elec­toral coali­tion, and as they grow in size, they rep­re­sent Democ­rats’ best oppor­tu­ni­ty to flip red dis­tricts to win leg­isla­tive super­ma­jor­i­ties in Olympia.

On the oth­er hand, if this year’s trend con­tin­ues, work­ing class Lati­no vot­ers — along­side work­ing class Asian, Black, and Lati­no vot­ers in King Coun­ty — could deliv­er a reemer­gence of the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Party.

Electoral data analysis

The first and most obvi­ous sign of wor­ry for Democ­rats was in a local coun­ty com­mis­sion­er race in Yaki­ma. In 2021, a judge ruled that Yaki­ma Coun­ty vio­lat­ed the Wash­ing­ton Vot­ing Rights Act by bar­ring Lati­no vot­ers’ legal­ly pro­tect­ed abil­i­ty to elect can­di­dates of their choice.

This land­mark deci­sion led to the cre­ation of three coun­ty com­mis­sion dis­tricts — two of which are major­i­­ty-Lati­no dis­tricts that Joe Biden won by dou­ble digits.

Yet in 2022, Democ­rats failed to win a sin­gle district.

In the over­lap­ping, new­­ly-drawn major­i­­ty-Lati­no 15th leg­isla­tive dis­trict, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for state sen­ate only received 32%, down a whop­ping 17% from Biden’s nar­row vic­to­ry in the dis­trict in 2020. While the 15th Dis­trict will like­ly be redrawn by fed­er­al courts next year because it vio­lates the Vot­ing Rights Act by divid­ing minor­i­ty pop­u­la­tions and geo­graph­ic com­mu­ni­ties of inter­est, the vast drop in Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port in this dis­trict spells trouble.

These trends extend­ed to statewide races, although to a less­er degree.

For exam­ple, Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray earned just 1.2% less of the vote statewide in 2022 than Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell did in 2018.

But crit­i­cal­ly, in Lati­no-heavy Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, Mur­ray dropped 4.8% from Cantwell’s 2018 run. (Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton is defined here as Grant, Yaki­ma, Adams, Franklin, and Ben­ton coun­ties — the cen­ter of the Lati­no com­mu­ni­ty in Wash­ing­ton.) Cantwell in 2018 and Mur­ray in 2022 share sim­i­lar dynam­ics: pop­u­lar incum­bent Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors run­ning for re-elec­­tion dur­ing a midterm year, each receiv­ing a sim­i­lar final statewide result. Thus, it’s a good pair of races to rep­re­sent gener­ic par­ti­san changes over the past four years.

When dig­ging deep­er into the data, we find that much of the Repub­li­can gains came from major­i­­ty-Lati­no precincts.

Some precincts in East Yaki­ma, East Pas­co, and the Yaki­ma Low­er Val­ley can reach up to 90%+ Lati­no, and these areas had Repub­li­can shifts as high as 35% between 2018 and 2022; this occurs even as major­i­­ty-white precincts in West Yaki­ma and Tri-Cities had actu­al­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic gains.

Indeed, my data mod­el of these two elec­tions at a precinct lev­el approx­i­mates a dra­mat­ic 17% drop in Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port among Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Lati­no vot­ers from 2018 to 2022, while only a 2–3% drop among white voters.

It seems that the polit­i­cal earth­quake that began two years ago in the Rio Grande Val­ley has offi­cial­ly hit Wash­ing­ton, the Ever­green State.

Turnout versus shifting preferences

These pro­found changes raise fur­ther ques­tions: is the Repub­li­can shift in Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton due to turnout (Lati­nos vot­ing in small­er num­bers) or vot­ing choice (Lati­nos switch­ing to the Repub­li­can Par­ty), or both?

By return­ing to the Cantwell 2018-Mur­ray 2022 com­par­i­son, we find turnout decreased in 2022 across Wash­ing­ton, but dropped more in Cen­tral Washington.

Here, my precinct-lev­­el analy­sis deter­mined while white turnout dropped from 78% to 72%, the already low­er Lati­no turnout plunged from 42% to 23% among Lati­nos — a stag­ger­ing 19%. This means Lati­no vot­ers went from being 16% of the Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton elec­torate in 2018 down to 10% in 2022.

While this turnout dif­fer­ence is sig­nif­i­cant, it was not big enough to account for all of the Repub­li­can gains. If we assume Lati­nos and whites vot­ed for Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates at the exact same pro­por­tion as they did in 2018, the change in turnout in 2022 would only explain a 2.9% Repub­li­can gain.

But there was a 4.8% Repub­li­can gain, so that means a lit­tle less than half of the GOP shift was not from turnout changes, but from pre­vi­ous­ly Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers vot­ing Repub­li­can in 2022.

We also know that the Repub­li­can gains in Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton were in most­ly heav­i­­ly-Lati­no com­mu­ni­ties like East Yaki­ma, East Pas­co, and the Yaki­ma Low­er Val­ley. So most of those Demo­c­rat­ic-to-Repub­­li­­can vot­ers were like­ly Lati­nos, not whites. So the answer to the ques­tion posed above is both: the Repub­li­can shift was because Lati­nos both vot­ed less, and the ones that did vote vot­ed more Repub­li­can altogether.

An impor­tant caveat, albeit wonky: because we do not have pub­lic data on vot­er reg­is­tra­tion rates by race/ethnicity, this analy­sis does not account for prob­a­ble dis­par­i­ties between white and Lati­no vot­er reg­is­tra­tion rates. 

There­fore, this analy­sis like­ly over­es­ti­mates the over­all share of the vote that is Lati­no, and there­fore over­es­ti­mates how much depressed Lati­no vot­er turnout explains the Repub­li­can shift. Put dif­fer­ent­ly, this mod­el like­ly under­es­ti­mates the true mag­ni­tude of Lati­no vot­ers switch­ing par­ties to vote for Republicans.

Charts showing eligible voting population and projected voteshare by race for 2018 and 2022

Charts show­ing eli­gi­ble vot­ing pop­u­la­tion and pro­ject­ed vote­share by race for 2018 and 2022 (Graph­ic by Andrew Hong)


2018-2022 Central Washington: Modeled Source of Republican Shift

2018–2022 Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton: Mod­eled Source of Repub­li­can Shift (Graph­ic by Andrew Hong)

Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats declared the 2022 cycle a resound­ing vic­to­ry, but a 17% decline in sup­port with­in the fastest-grow­ing minor­i­ty group spells trou­ble for Democ­rats’ future. In ten years, Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton will see mul­ti­ple major­i­­ty-Lati­no leg­isla­tive dis­tricts and a new major­i­­ty-minor­i­­ty con­gres­sion­al district.

Democ­rats have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to chal­lenge for anoth­er seat in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and achieve a leg­isla­tive super­ma­jor­i­ty to sub­mit state con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ments to vot­ers. But their lack of atten­tion to the Lati­no sleep­ing polit­i­cal giant could pave way to Repub­li­can dom­i­nance in the region.

This lack of atten­tion can be seen in that no Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates were recruit­ed to run in a Biden+15 dis­trict for Yaki­ma Coun­ty Com­mis­sion — a painful missed opportunity.

2018-2022 Central Washington Republican gains, by race

2018–2022 Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Repub­li­can gains, by race (Graph­ic by Andrew Hong)

If the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty invests into can­di­date recruit­ment and fundrais­ing, it can make up some of this ground. But a mes­sen­ger with­out a strong mes­sage won’t deliv­er the votes. Polling by the Pew Research Cen­ter, among oth­ers, has shown Lati­nos gen­er­al­ly pri­or­i­tize eco­nom­ic issues over social issues.

Some polit­i­cal sci­en­tists and Demo­c­ra­t­ic strate­gists, such as Ruy Teix­eira, have argued — cor­rect­ly, in my view — that Democ­rats have lost work­ing class Lati­no vot­ers by de-empha­­siz­ing eco­nom­ic issues for social issues in an effort to appeal to upper-class sub­ur­ban vot­ers. That’s come at the cost of work­ing class vot­ers of all races. In fact, Democ­rats also lost ground with work­ing class Asian and Black com­mu­ni­ties last year in my home in South Seat­tle and South King County.

To buck this right­ward trend, Wash­ing­ton Democ­rats need to embrace a clear, pop­ulist, eco­nom­ic-focused mes­sage — and deliv­er leg­is­la­tion — that speaks to work­ing class vot­ers of col­or. They also need to invest in can­di­date recruit­ment, cam­paigns, and orga­niz­ers in these communities.

With the sup­port of work­ing class Lati­no vot­ers, Democ­rats could win a his­toric statewide man­date in these next two decades.

Thursday, March 16th, 2023

Bruce Dammeier (R), Bob Ferguson (D) lead hypothetical 2024 gubernatorial field in WA

Should Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee decide against seek­ing an unprece­dent­ed fourth term lat­er this year, Repub­li­can Pierce Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Bruce Dammeier and Demo­c­ra­t­ic Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son would be the two lead­ing can­di­dates to suc­ceed him in a hypo­thet­i­cal field that also includ­ed King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine (D) and Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands Hilary Franz (D), a poll recent­ly con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

35% of 874 like­ly 2024 gen­er­al elec­tion vot­ers inter­viewed from March 7th-8th for NPI by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling said they’d back Dammeier if the elec­tion were being held today, while 21% said they’d pick Fer­gu­son. 7% said Con­stan­tine and anoth­er 7% said Franz. A total of 30% were not sure, a fig­ure that exceeds the sup­port of each of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates, though not all of them combined.

NPI poll finding: 2024 gubernatorial race hypothetical field

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s March 2023 guber­na­to­r­i­al poll find­ing, with a hypo­thet­i­cal field of four can­di­dates (North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute)

The results sug­gest that Fer­gu­son would have the advan­tage at the out­set of a 2024 guber­na­to­r­i­al cam­paign among the three top Demo­c­ra­t­ic office­hold­ers in the state known to be inter­est­ed in the job, but also indi­cates that there could be an open­ing for either Franz or Con­stan­tine to wage a com­pet­i­tive cam­paign, par­tic­u­lar­ly if one of them decid­ed to for­go run­ning, result­ing in just two cred­i­ble Democ­rats com­pet­ing for time, tal­ent, trea­sure, and votes in the elim­i­na­tion round.

Dammeier’s 35% per­cent­age is pret­ty much what we thought we’d most like­ly see. In head-to-head ques­tions in our statewide polling, we usu­al­ly see declared or hypo­thet­i­cal Repub­li­can can­di­dates in the mid to upper thirties.

This range has been fair­ly steady since the tumul­tuous 2016 elec­tion. Three exam­ples: Susan Hutchi­son polled at 36% in May of 2018, Don­ald Trump polled at 37% in Octo­ber of 2019, and Tiffany Smi­ley polled at 37% in May of 2021.

Repub­li­cans have not won a guber­na­to­r­i­al elec­tion in Wash­ing­ton since 1980, and, aside from a long string of vic­to­ries for Sec­re­tary of State that end­ed last year, have won only a hand­ful of down­bal­lot exec­u­tive con­tests since 2000. They’ve also been reduced to just two seats in the state’s twelve-mem­ber con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion, leav­ing them with a thin bench, in stark con­trast to the Democrats.

Giv­en Wash­ing­ton’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic ori­en­ta­tion, most of the action for gov­er­nor will be on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic side, again assum­ing Inslee retires. But the Repub­li­cans can be count­ed upon to field some­body, which is why we put togeth­er a ques­tion that includ­ed a hypo­thet­i­cal Repub­li­can can­di­date as well as the three Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates. Here’s the text of our ques­tion and the respons­es we received:

QUESTION (VERSION A): If the 2024 Top Two elec­tion for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Hilary Franz, Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier, Demo­c­rat Dow Con­stan­tine, and Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son, who would you vote for?

Half the poll sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates as shown above and half the sam­ple saw the ques­tion with the order of can­di­dates shown below. The word­ing was the same, but the order was invert­ed to make the ques­tion as neu­tral as possible. 

QUESTION (VERSION B): If the 2024 Top Two elec­tion for Gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton State were being held today and the can­di­dates were Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son, Demo­c­rat Dow Con­stan­tine, Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier, and Demo­c­rat Hilary Franz, who would you vote for?


  • Repub­li­can Bruce Dammeier: 35%
  • Demo­c­rat Bob Fer­gu­son: 21%
  • Demo­c­rat Hilary Franz: 7%
  • Demo­c­rat Dow Con­stan­tine: 7%
  • Not sure: 30%

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.

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.

Most vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton iden­ti­fy either as Demo­c­ra­t­ic or inde­pen­dent, and as you might expect, giv­en a choice of three Democ­rats for an impor­tant office, large num­bers were unde­cid­ed. One in three Democ­rats (33%) said they were not sure, with 39% back­ing Fer­gu­son and Franz and Con­stan­tine get­ting 12% each. 42% of inde­pen­dent vot­ers were also not sure. 33% of inde­pen­dents said they’d back Dammeier, while 12% picked Fer­gu­son, 8% Con­stan­tine, and 5% Franz.

Repub­li­cans eas­i­ly lined up behind Dammeier — as men­tioned, the only Repub­li­can option. 84% of them backed Dammeier and 11% were not sure. 3% said they’d sup­port Fer­gu­son; 1% said Franz, and anoth­er 1% said Con­stan­tine, for a total of 5% of Repub­li­can vot­ers will­ing to back a Demo­c­rat. That match­es the num­ber of Democ­rats who said they were for Dammeier — 5%.

Region­al­ly, here’s how the dynam­ics break down:

  • King Coun­ty: This is the most Demo­c­ra­t­ic part of Wash­ing­ton State — it’s a blue bas­tion. Con­stan­tine did twice as well (14%) in the King Coun­ty sub­sam­ple of our poll as in the over­all sam­ple, but Fer­gu­son still was the top Demo­c­rat in Wash­ing­ton’s most pop­u­lous coun­ty with 20%. Franz, mean­while, got 10%. The per­cent­age of not sure vot­ers was 38%. Dammeier only got 18% among our King Coun­ty respondents.
  • North Puget Sound: This area usu­al­ly votes Demo­c­ra­t­ic, espe­cial­ly in top of the tick­et con­tests. Dammeier fared rea­son­ably well in this region. He received 40% sup­port there, while Fer­gu­son received 20%. Con­stan­tine received 8% and Franz 7%, sim­i­lar to their statewide num­bers. 25% were not sure, a low­er fig­ure than the statewide percentage.
  • South Sound: This is Dammeier’s home turf (it includes Pierce Coun­ty), but a lit­tle sur­pris­ing­ly, his num­ber there is mere­ly the same as his statewide per­cent­age — 35%. Fer­gu­son, mean­while, was very com­pet­i­tive, clock­ing in at 31%, his best show­ing in any region of the state. He seems to have seri­ous strength in the South Sound. Con­stan­tine and Franz received just 2% each. 30% said that they were not sure, match­ing the statewide percentage.
  • Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Wash­ing­ton: This is swing turf for both par­ties. Democ­rats have held onto the 24th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict in recent elec­tions while Repub­li­cans have tak­en the 19th. The Democ­rats man­aged to flip the 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict last year in a major vic­to­ry. Fer­gu­son received 15% in this region, while Con­stan­tine and Franz each got 8%. Dammeier received 42%. 27% were not sure.
  • East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton: This is the most Repub­li­can part of Wash­ing­ton State by far, and accord­ing­ly, a major­i­ty of like­ly vot­ers favor Dammeier. He received 50% sup­port, while Fer­gu­son received 18%. Con­stan­tine received 1% and Franz 4%. 27% were not sure.

Notes and caveats about our question and the finding

It’s impor­tant to remem­ber this ques­tion asked vot­ers about a hypo­thet­i­cal field, one that does­n’t exist now and may nev­er exist. Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee has­n’t made or announced a deci­sion about run­ning again and none of these four elect­ed offi­cials has launched a cam­paign. It is pos­si­ble that some of them won’t run — it’s even pos­si­ble that none of them will run. We don’t know the future and don’t pre­tend to, so I won’t offer any pre­dic­tions. There’s many plau­si­ble scenarios.

Our intent with this ques­tion was to have fun explor­ing some of the poten­tial dynam­ics of a land­scape in which Gov­er­nor Inslee does­n’t seek reelection.

We only includ­ed cred­i­ble poten­tial can­di­dates in our ques­tion because it isn’t fea­si­ble or worth­while to ask vot­ers about dozens of pos­si­bil­i­ties in a sur­vey. There were thir­ty-six can­di­dates (yes, three dozen!) for Gov­er­nor in the August 2020 Top Two elec­tion and most of them did not receive even 1% of the vote.

Fer­gu­son, Con­stan­tine, and Franz have all pre­vi­ous­ly expressed inter­est in run­ning for gov­er­nor, are unques­tion­ably qual­i­fied for the office, and have demon­strat­ed they can raise the resources need­ed to com­pete statewide. Fer­gu­son and Franz have also each won con­sec­u­tive statewide elec­tions for oth­er posi­tions in the exec­u­tive depart­ment — Attor­ney Gen­er­al and Com­mis­sion­er of Pub­lic Lands.

Dammeier, mean­while, is the most cred­i­ble Repub­li­can can­di­date our team could think of (we want­ed a cred­i­ble Repub­li­can to go with the three cred­i­ble Democ­rats in the ques­tion). He’s in charge of the sec­ond largest coun­ty in the state and would run a much more seri­ous cam­paign than a grifter like Loren Culp or Tim Eyman if he chose to enter the race. Pierce Coun­ty has term lim­its, so Dammeier can­not run again for Exec­u­tive next year. He could run for gov­er­nor, though!

Future polling plans

In our spring sea­son­al sur­vey, we’ll take anoth­er look at the guber­na­to­r­i­al race and bring you a new find­ing. It is pos­si­ble by that point that Gov­er­nor Inslee will have announced his plans, but it’s also pos­si­ble he won’t have. His most recent two pre­de­ces­sors wait­ed until June and July to offi­cial­ly announce that they had decid­ed to retire. Chris Gre­goire’s retire­ment announce­ment was made pub­lic on June 13th, 2011; Gary Locke announced his retire­ment on July 21st, 2003.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Voters in Washington State strongly support taxing extreme wealth, NPI poll confirms

Two-thirds of like­ly 2024 vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State sup­port levy­ing a tax on extreme wealth in Wash­ing­ton, with well over fifty per­cent strong­ly sup­port­ive, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s lat­est statewide poll has confirmed.

67% of 874 like­ly vot­ers sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling last week for NPI said they sup­port­ed levy­ing a one per­cent wealth tax on Wash­ing­ton res­i­dents whose world­wide wealth exceeds a quar­ter bil­lion dol­lars, to ben­e­fit the state’s essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices, while only 28% were opposed and 5% were not sure.

Washingtonians strongly support taxing extreme wealth

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans strong­ly sup­port tax­ing extreme wealth (NPI graphic)

The find­ing cor­rob­o­rates ear­li­er polling con­duct­ed in Wash­ing­ton by Tar­getS­mart for the State Inno­va­tion Exchange in Decem­ber 2022 — Jan­u­ary 2023.

Tar­getS­mart’s mul­ti­modal sur­vey of 497 adults found that two-thirds of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sup­port imple­ment­ing a wealth tax where the first $250 mil­lion is exempt before any pre­sen­ta­tion of argu­ments for the idea.

It’s also con­sis­tent with NPI’s past wealth tax research.

Dur­ing the pre­vi­ous elec­tion cycle, we repeat­ed­ly asked if vot­ers sup­port levy­ing a tax on bil­lion­aire for­tunes and found enthu­si­as­tic sup­port, despite not spec­i­fy­ing in our ques­tion which par­tic­u­lar ser­vices the rev­enue would be ded­i­cat­ed to.

Our 2021–2022 data showed that vot­ers under­stand our tax code is inequitable and are very recep­tive to ideas to bal­ance it pri­mar­i­ly on fair­ness grounds.

For 2023, we updat­ed our ques­tion to fit the con­tours of the leg­is­la­tion that’s cur­rent­ly before the Leg­is­la­ture: House Bill 1473, prime spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive My-Linh Thai, and Sen­ate Bill 5486, prime spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Noel Frame, both good friends of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute.

These bills would tax for­tunes of $250 mil­lion or more and allo­cate the rev­enue equal­ly to the Dis­abil­i­ties Care Trust Account, the Edu­ca­tion Lega­cy Trust Account, the Wash­ing­ton Hous­ing Trust Fund, and the Tax­pay­er Jus­tice Account.

Accord­ing­ly, we asked:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose levy­ing a one per­cent wealth tax on Wash­ing­ton res­i­dents whose world­wide wealth exceeds a quar­ter bil­lion dol­lars, to ben­e­fit pub­lic ser­vices here in our state, such as dis­abil­i­ty ser­vices, hous­ing, and spe­cial education?


  • Sup­port: 67% 
    • Strong­ly: 57%
    • Some­what: 10%
  • Oppose: 28%
    • Some­what: 6%
    • Strong­ly: 22%
  • Not sure: 5%

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 for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

For ref­er­ence, our pre­vi­ous ques­tion, first asked in 2021, was as follows:

QUESTION: Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose, or strong­ly oppose levy­ing a one per­cent wealth tax on Wash­ing­ton res­i­dents whose world­wide wealth exceeds one bil­lion dol­lars, to ben­e­fit pub­lic ser­vices here in our state?


  • Sup­port: 60% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 50%
    • Some­what sup­port: 10%
  • Oppose: 36%
    • Some­what oppose: 11%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 25%
  • Not sure: 5%

Com­pared to that find­ing, over­all sup­port in response to the 2023 ver­sion of our wealth tax ques­tion is 7% high­er, with all of that growth com­ing in the “strong­ly sup­port” buck­et. Oppo­si­tion, mean­while, is down 8%, for a total increase in net sup­port of 13%. And that’s despite the def­i­n­i­tion of extreme wealth in the ques­tion hav­ing widened from a bil­lion dol­lars to a quar­ter bil­lion dollars.

Through­out NPI’s twen­ty-year his­to­ry, we have empha­sized that there are two sides to every equa­tion, includ­ing the pub­lic finance equa­tion. Essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices require fund­ing. They aren’t free: we have to pool our resources to be able to afford them. That’s why we like to explain the con­nec­tion between a pro­posed rev­enue source and the ser­vices it would ben­e­fit in our sur­veys. Vot­ers need to know about both sides of the equa­tion to offer an informed opinion.

The wealth tax ques­tions above aren’t argu­ments-struc­tured ques­tions (e.g. with pro­po­nents say vs. oppo­nents say fram­ing), but we know from years of ask­ing Wash­ing­to­ni­ans how they feel about a cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy that the right wing’s argu­ments against a cap­i­tal gains tax sim­ply do not res­onate. It seems very unlike­ly that argu­ments against a wealth tax would fare differently.

Wash­ing­ton has been hob­bled for years by an upside down tax code, rat­ed as the most inequitable in the nation by the Insti­tute on Tax­a­tion and Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy (ITEP) for many years. Our schools and many oth­er pub­lic ser­vices have suf­fered due to under­fund­ing — a prob­lem that could be mean­ing­ful­ly addressed if the wealthy were required to start pay­ing their fair share in dues to our great state.

Dur­ing last week’s hear­ing on SB 5486, right wing activists offered a litany of laugh­able argu­ments in oppo­si­tion to the wealth tax, which basi­cal­ly boiled down to, the wealthy deserve their wealth, so how dare you pro­pose this leg­is­la­tion?

It was par­tic­u­lar­ly amus­ing to hear com­plaints that the wealth tax was a vehi­cle for “wealth redis­tri­b­u­tion.” I had the priv­i­lege of clos­ing out the pub­lic hear­ing as the final per­son to offer remarks, and I point­ed out to leg­is­la­tors that a mas­sive redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth has already tak­en place and is still occurring.

“Unless you’re liv­ing under a rock, you have to have noticed that wealth redis­tri­b­u­tion is already hap­pen­ing. We’ve been see­ing income inequal­i­ty widen for decades,” I told the Sen­ate Ways & Means Com­mit­tee. “And we know that one of the great ways to equal­ize — to cre­ate a bet­ter, just, more pros­per­ous soci­ety — is for wealth to be invest­ed in the form of tax­es. They are invest­ments. It is patri­ot­ic to be a tax­pay­er and pay your dues. And it’s time for extreme wealth in Wash­ing­ton to be invest­ed in the essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices that the peo­ple need.”

Vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton agree — emphat­i­cal­ly — as our research shows.

It was only a days ago that Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­is­la­tors dropped plans to pro­vide no-cost school meals to all pupils in Wash­ing­ton because of “mon­ey,” to quote State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­cus Ric­cel­li, a pro­po­nent of the idea.

That sor­ry devel­op­ment was a fresh reminder that our schools are under­fund­ed and we need to raise rev­enue to ful­ly them — a state­ment that a major­i­ty of Wash­ing­ton vot­ers have told us they agree with for the bet­ter part of a decade.

By levy­ing a wealth tax, we can mean­ing­ful­ly address the spe­cial edu­ca­tion fis­cal cri­sis while also rais­ing fund­ing for dis­abil­i­ties care and hous­ing… and devote fur­ther resources to bal­anc­ing our tax code. Wash­ing­ton would win on all counts.

A tax on extreme wealth that ben­e­fits spe­cial edu­ca­tion, dis­abil­i­ties care, and hous­ing is pre­cise­ly the kind of pro­gres­sive change that Wash­ing­to­ni­ans vot­ed for in the 2022 midterms and want to see from the Demo­c­ra­t­ic House and Sen­ate that they elect­ed. Our polling is fresh proof of that. Let’s get it done!

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