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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

February 22, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Poll of Washington puts Santorum up by double digits, McKenna and Inslee tied for governor

A Public Policy Polling survey of Washington state Republicans over the weekend showed Rick Santorum with an 11-point lead over Mitt Romney in the Republican nomination race, and Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee tied for the governor’s race.

At the presidential level, Santorum topped Romney, 38 to 27%. Ron Paul received 15% and Newt Gingrich 12%. Gingrich plans to be in Washington to campaign Thursday and Friday.

Santorum has a favorability-to-unfavorability rating of 69% to 18% among Washington Republicans, while Romney is at 47% to 42%. PPP writes, “The groups fueling Santorum’s lead in Washington are the same ones he’s doing well with everywhere: he’s up 50-20 with Tea Partiers, 50-18 with Evangelicals, and 50-19 with voters describing themselves as ‘very conservative.’ His state by state formula for success definitely seems to include leading with each of those groups by at least 25 points.”

Washington Republicans caucus for their presidential selections on March 3.

For the governor’s office, PPP found McKenna and Inslee tied at 42%. Both candidates receive 81% of the vote among their respective partisans, Republicans and Democrats.

Notably, PPP writes, “Both of the Gubernatorial candidates are well liked with voters in the state and they’ve pulled about even on name recognition. 68% of voters are familiar with McKenna and he has a 39/29 favorability. 64% know Inslee and he has a 36/28 favorability. There aren’t a lot of races these days where we find voters liking both of their choices.”

As a point of comparison, the Elway Poll surveyed Washington registered voters last week and found McKenna with a 9-point lead over Inslee, 45-36.

There are several differences in how Public Policy Polling and the Elway Poll conducts their surveys. One is that PPP employs “automated telephone interviews,” for which people enter their responses by pushing keypad numbers on the phone. The Elway Poll employs live interviewers.

Another is the wording of the questions. In this case, the Elway Poll asked people “how they are inclined to vote for governor,” whereas PPP asked people if the governor candidates were Inslee and McKenna, “who would you vote for?”

Finally, Elway is stridently non-partisan in its polling, whereas PPP regularly polls for Democratic Party candidates. That said, PPP has been quite accurate in its Republican primary polling this year.

The differences could well lead to different samples and different levels of comfort answering the questions.

Comments | Topics: Caucuses, Democrats, Elway Poll

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