A new Elway Poll finds Washington’s gubernatorial contest remains tight, but there is plenty of scary news for Republicans in down-ballot races.
The poll of 405 registered voters, conducted Sept. 9-12, found Democrat Jay Inslee leading Republican Rob McKenna, 44 to 41 percent. With the poll’s 5 percentage point margin of error, the finding confirms the race’s billing as one of the nation’s most competitive.
But there are ominous signs for Republicans. The Elway Poll also looked at all the other statewide contests for state office and found Democrats with big leads in each.
In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Bob Ferguson leads Republican Reagan Dunn 40-27 percent. In the lieutenant governor’s contest, Democrat Brad Owen leads Republican Bill Finkbeiner 43-27 percent. The Democrats in the races for state auditor, lands commissioner and secretary of state led by similar margins.
The good news in this poll for McKenna is that he continues to outperform the Republican presidential ticket here. Pollster Stuart Elway notes McKenna leads Inslee 44-29 percent among independents.
The bad news for McKenna is that if the overall trend outlined in this poll continues, the Republican ticket may yet drag him down.
Elway said his survey found Washington voters are increasingly turned off by the GOP brand. The gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans doubled, from 8 points to 16 points since July.
And there is evidence that the Democratic Party’s talk about the GOP’s “war on women” may be working.
The key voter-support patterns in all the down-ballot state races “are strikingly similar and reveal the political fault lines for this year’s election,” Elway writes. “In each case, the Democratic candidate (all of whom are leading) gets his/her strongest support from Democrats, women and King County. The fact that women appear to be turning toward the Democratic party in large numbers is a defining dynamic of this election.”