by Darryl, 07/31/2012, 5:07 PM

DLBottlePlease join us for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

Tonight we will be joined by Secretary of State candidate, past Public Delegate to the United Nations, and former two-term Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels.

(During his last visit to Drinking Liberally, Mayor Nickels presented the chapter with a “Republican St” street sign. It still hangs over the bar, plastered with liberal political stickers.)

We meet every Tuesday at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00pm. Some people show up earlier for Dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings over the next week. The Tri-Cities chapter also meets tonight. The Spokane chapter and Drinking Liberally Tacoma meet this Thursday. On Monday, the Yakima, South Bellevue and Olympia chapters meet.

With 230 chapters of Living Liberally, including twelve in Washington state and four in both Oregon and Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter near you.

by Carl, 07/31/2012, 8:01 AM
by Carl, 07/30/2012, 6:27 PM

It’s been a long time coming, and it felt like it was just a matter of time since President Obama supported it. But now it looks like marriage equality has the support to make it to the final platform.

Leaders of the Democratic Party have apparently agreed to include language endorsing same-sex marriage in the party’s 2012 platform, to be ratified at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The formal platform language will be hammered out when the party’s platform committee convenes in Detroit in mid-August.

It has been a lot of work from a lot of committed activists for decades to bring us to this point. And of course there’s still a long way to go before it’s the law of the land in all 50 states. But the tide is turning. If this happens, it’ll be an important step along the way.

by Carl, 07/30/2012, 7:55 AM

- This may be the most ignorant thing anyone has possibly said to anyone ever in any circumstance.

- Why does Thomas Paine hate free enterprise?

- In addition to all of these points, I’m not sure the leaderless Occupy movement and Bane go hand in glove.

- The settlement between Seattle and the DOJ (pdf). I haven’t read it, but most of the commentary about it sounds encouraging. The proof of the pudding will of course be in the eating.

- Charter school advocates are totally above board.

- Not the Olympics, but a great gold medal.

- And as far as I know, this may be the first time ant babies have been given haircuts for science.

by Lee, 07/29/2012, 12:00 PM

Last week’s contest was won by don. It was the old GST Steel plant in Kansas City, closed after the company was acquired by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital in the 90s.

Here’s this week’s contest, a random location somewhere on earth. Good luck!

by Goldy, 07/29/2012, 7:26 AM

Leviticus 19:19
Breed your livestock animals only with animals of the same kind, and don’t plant two kinds of seed in the same field or wear clothes made of different kinds of material.


by Darryl, 07/28/2012, 2:23 AM

Olympic GOLD:

Mark Fiore: ALEC Rock:

Voter Disenfranchisement:

Obama: Weekly Address.

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican, Maryland edition.

Guns and Violence:

Thom with Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

Roy Zimmerman: Beer Party Anthem for patriots.

Context Matters:

Alyona’s Tool Time Award: Bachmann on her witch hunt.

White House: West Wing Week.

Homophobic Food:

Thom with some Good, Bad, and Very, Very Ugly.

Zina Sanders: Michele Bachman’s Christian Crusades:

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican Indiana edition.

Jon fingers some assholes.

More Mitt:

Roy Zimmerman: Vote Republican, Kentucy edition.

Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.

by Carl, 07/27/2012, 5:21 PM

Here are all of the answers we got for the primary:

Sec. of State:


Nobody answered

36th District:

46th District:

Once again, I emailed the same questions (per position) to all of the Democratic candidates in these contested primaries, and gave them as much space as they wanted to answer. I think we got some interesting ones. Sadly, this time more candidates didn’t answer than did; I don’t normally endorse because who cares, but I’ll say since they were the only people in their races who bothered to answer, the official Carl Ballard endorsement goes to Drew and Tarleton. If they have any sense they won’t put it on any literature. Any candidate who reads this and feels bad is free to get in late, I guess.

So, going forward, is this something you guys would like to see in the general or future elections?

by Goldy, 07/27/2012, 10:52 AM

I posted this video to Slog, but my editors deleted it, apparently because it is simply too offensive to objectify a man for his breasts. Huh.

But you know what? Politics is a nasty game. Republicans win all the time by portraying themselves as more manly, but this is one race in which the Democrat, Jay Inslee, has the clear and undisputed manliness advantage. Is it kind to point out McKenna’s man boobs? Is it mature? Is it relevant? Does it add to public discourse? Of course not.

But for some voters, if they perceive McKenna as less manly, it will cost him votes. So for me, this makes McKenna’s boobs fair game.

(Also, what the fuck? Who puts out a political TV ad with video like that? That’s media malpractice.)

by Darryl, 07/27/2012, 9:50 AM

Results of a new SurveyUSA poll in Washington’s first congressional district (via KING 5) are out. The poll was taken on the 24th and 25th of July on a sample of 563 likely voters in the district (4.2% MOE). The results:

  • John Koster (R), 38%
  • Susan Delbene (D), 17%
  • Darcy Burner (D) 13%
  • Laura Ruderman (D) 6%
  • Steve Hobbs (D) 5%)
  • Darshan Rauniyar (D) 2%
  • Larry Ishmael (I) 2%

The best news about this poll is the 43% that Democratic candidates take, edging out Koster’s support at 38% (or 40% if you include Republican-turned-independent Ishmael). In head-to-head general election contests:

If the race were between Koster and DelBene, SurveyUSA finds it’s a dead heat—42% each. It’s also effectively a dead heat if it were Koster vs. Burner.

Of course, with 17% (primary) and 16% (general) still undecided, there is a lot of room for change between the end of the primary and the general election.

by Carl, 07/27/2012, 7:49 AM

While I’m still not thrilled with the fact that CEO’s can do this sort of thing [h/t]. But as long as they can, this is a lot better than them spending it on the bad side of an initiative. founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced a gift Friday of $2.5 million to the campaign to defend Washington’s same-sex marriage law.

With the gift, Washington United for Marriage has raised more than $5 million for the Referendum 74 campaign. Last month Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and co-founder Bill Gates each donated $100,000 to support the law.

Dominic Holden on Slog linked to a poll a while ago that suggested that marriage equality might be in trouble. So hopefully this will help turn things around.

by Carl, 07/26/2012, 5:21 PM

There’s a garbage strike in Seattle and the surrounding suburbs. I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t know the situation before the strike, and it certainly doesn’t look good.

Talks between Waste Management and recycle drivers, represented by Teamsters Local 117, stalled on Thursday because the company refused to bargain in good faith. The mediator called off negotiations after the company refused to respond to the Union’s proposal.

“Waste Management did not come prepared to bargain today,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. “We came back to the table to avoid a public health crisis but it’s clear that Waste Management wants to provoke a labor dispute.”

Waste Management has flown in out-of-state strike breakers to prepare for a lockout and has employed staffers from Huffmaster, a company that specializes in lockouts and strikes. “Waste Management is spending thousands of dollars on wages, plane tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms for out-of-state strike breakers and security guards. That’s money that could be used to match proposals made by its major competitors,” Thompson said.

You can take that with a grain of salt being as it’s the union’s site. But I think it’s important for them to be able to get their side out.

… Late note, the link is old. When I wrote about not being aware of the situation, I thought that covered that it was for background, but re-reading it it looks like a current thing. So just to clarify.

by Darryl, 07/26/2012, 2:51 PM

Gubernatorial candidate and former Congressman Jay Inslee released a quite positive introductory ad a couple of weeks ago:

The ad does a great job introducing him and his past service. It’s one of those ads that can build name recognition. That’s all good.

Now compare it to this latest ad that takes a quite different approach:

I like this ad in that it covers some of McKenna’s weaknesses that I have been highlighting recently—namely, his paranoid, vengeful bunker mentality with the press (and here and here) as well as his contemptuous attitude toward others (and here).

At least as a public figure, McKenna is not a very nice person, and this ad begins to needle at that chink in his armor.

The ad also picks up on another theme: McKenna’s statements of being unprepared in a couple of circumstances. This is probably excellent politics, but it isn’t a serious argument against McKenna. From what I can tell, McKenna does take his work seriously and is nearly always prepared.

So, why does a normally prepared candidate have to resort to saying he is unprepared? Quite simply, it allows him to dodge a troublesome question. He doesn’t have to lay out his position on health care reform or on gun control without first carefully constructing an answer designed to minimize any damage from unpopular beliefs he holds.

But, hell, if he is going to use “unprepared” as an excuse for dodging answers, it’s fair game to turn around and hit him for admitting he is unprepared!

by Carl, 07/26/2012, 9:15 AM

- The Stranger endorses the Arena. Although Goldy has some caveats.

- People with power need to stand up to the NRA.

- The last debate in the 1st.

- Fox News have lost their damn minds.

- Obama is removing imaginary crosses.

- Countries to root for in the Olympics that have never won a medal.

- The most logical thing said about The Dark Knight.

by Darryl, 07/26/2012, 1:05 AM
Obama Romney
99.0% probability of winning 1.0% probability of winning
Mean of 321 electoral votes Mean of 217 electoral votes

[Note: See update at the end of the post]

Last week’s analysis of state head-to-head polls showed President Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney, 327 to 211 electoral votes and with a 99.6% probability of winning an election held then. With 18 new state head-to-head polls weighing in on the contest, Mitt Romney has gained a little more. Here are the polls:

start end sample % % %
st poll date date size MOE O R diff
FL SurveyUSA 17-Jul 20-Jul 647 3.9 47.9 43.4 O+4.5
MI Rasmussen 23-Jul 23-Jul 500 4.5 48 42 O+6
MI Mitchell 23-Jul 23-Jul 825 3.4 44 45 R+1
MI PPP 21-Jul 23-Jul 579 4.1 53 39 O+14
MN SurveyUSA 17-Jul 20-Jul 552 4.3 45.9 39.7 O+6.2
NV WeAskAmerica 17-Jul 18-Jul 1092 3.0 49 43 O+6
NV Magellan Strategies 16-Jul 17-Jul 665 3.8 50 46 O+4
NJ Quinnipiac 09-Jul 15-Jul 1623 2.4 49 38 O+11
NM PPP 13-Jul 16-Jul 724 3.6 49 44 O+5
NY Quinnipiac 17-Jul 23-Jul 1779 2.3 55 32 O+23
NC Civitas 16-Jul 18-Jul 600 4.0 49 48 O+1
OH Rasmussen 18-Jul 18-Jul 500 4.5 47 45 O+2
PA PPP 21-Jul 23-Jul 758 3.6 49 43 O+6
PA Rasmussen 18-Jul 18-Jul 500 4.5 48 44 O+4
VA Rasmussen 16-Jul 17-Jul 500 4.5 47 46 O+1
VA Quinnipiac 10-Jul 16-Jul 1673 2.4 44 44 tie
WA SurveyUSA 16-Jul 17-Jul 630 4.0 46.0 37.3 O+8.7
WI WeAskAmerica 17-Jul 18-Jul 1162 2.9 49 42 O+7

Let’s get New Jersey and New York out of the way. They both have double digit leads for Obama.

Obama takes the latest Florida poll (+4.5%), giving him three of the five current polls, and a 62% probability of taking the state at this point.

In New Mexico Obama slips from +11 in the previous poll to a more moderate +5%. Even though a Romney victory at this point still seems unlikely, there is some hint at a softening of support for Obama:

ObamaRomney26Jun12-26Jul12New Mexico

Three polls in Michigan display remarkable heterogeneity. Obama takes one by double digits, one by single digits, and Romney takes one with a +1. The overall trend still looks more favorable for Obama:


Obama gets a +6.2% in Minnesota which actually seems weak. But the graph of polls does not really indicate any radical change in support for Obama over the long run:


Nevada continues to trend Obama, with a +4% and a +6%.

North Carolina gives Obama a slim +1% lead over Romney, but Romney leads in three of the five current polls. At this point, Romney would take the state with 67% probability.

Obama gets a small +2% lead in the Ohio poll. Obama now leads in four consecutive polls for the state, dating back to early June.

Pennsylvania goes +4 and +6 for Obama in two new polls. He leads in all three current polls and would be expected to win the state with a 98.8% probability.

Two new Virginia polls suggest a very tight race. Obama leads Romney by +1% in one and the other is a tie. The five current polls give Obama a slight edge and a 58% probability in an election held now.

In Wisconsin, the latest poll goes +7% for Obama. Obama leads by about the same amount in all three current polls.

Here in Washington Obama is up by +8.7% over Romney. The longer trend strongly hints at an Obama victory here:


After 100,000 simulated elections, Obama wins 99,012 times and Romney wins 988 times (including the 179 ties). Obama receives (on average) 321 (-6) to Romney’s 217 (+6) electoral votes. Obama has a 99.0% (-0.6%) probability of winning and Romney has a 1.0% (+0.6%) probability of winning an election held now.

Electoral College Map

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Lousiana Maine Maryland Massachusettes Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Electoral College Map

Georgia Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Delaware Connecticut Florida Mississippi Alabama Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia D.C. Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Here is the distribution of electoral votes [FAQ] from the simulations: Read the rest of this entry »

by Carl, 07/25/2012, 5:11 PM

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the format of the presidential and vice presidential debates this year. As usual, they don’t really feature a strong back and forth or the chance to get into the minutia of these things.

They will be a better chance to air their points than ads and press releases, so I suppose that’s something. Still, they won’t have to have more than 2 or 3 minute’s knowledge on any topic to sound intelligent. That’s a shame. So many people watch the debates. Even if they haven’t decided the outcome of many elections recently, it’s still an important part of our democracy, and it’s sooooo watered down.

by Carl, 07/25/2012, 8:03 AM

My questions bold, Dusty Hoerler’s as they were sent:

1) The state’s paramount duty is education. Do you feel the state is living up to that duty? If not, what needs to happen to live up to it?

The state is clearly not living up to its duty to provide for the education of young people. I was heartened by the fact that our state’s education budget emerged from the last session relatively intact, but I’m not satisfied merely holding the line. We’ll need to dedicate an additional $6.8 billion per biennium through 2018 to fund K-12 education at a level consistent with our constitutional mandate. That’s a tall order, and it simply cannot be done without raising more revenue.

But this is about more than obeying a court order to meet our constitutional obligations – it’s about the long-term strength of our democracy and our economy. That means that we have to take a broader view of education, to include early learning and making our public universities affordable again. We are seeing an alarming trend in higher education. Tuition at University of Washington has nearly doubled in the last four years, and, according to an article in Monday’s Seattle Times, tuition is projected to surpass $20,000 per year for in-state students by the end of this decade.

Why? Because our state legislators decided to, in part, balance the state’s budgets on middle and working class families and their children. Just four years ago, tuition only covered 41% of the costs of a UW education, while today, tuition pays 71% of the cost. In addition to our four-year schools, we also need to support our community colleges and trade schools, who are seeing similar budget cuts.

2) Washington State voters recently rejected an income tax. Most of the revenue that the legislature might be able to raise is quite regressive. Will you push for revenue, and if so, how will you make sure the burdens don’t fall on the poorest Washingtonians?

Washington’s tax system is one of the most regressive in America. The wrong people are being taxed too much! I believe that the rich and corporations need to pay their fair share. Not only are the poorest Washingtonians being taxed, but our tax dollars are indirectly subsidizing special interest loopholes. Here’s what I propose:

A. Sunset all corporate tax breaks. I’m in favor of legislation that sunsets all corporate tax breaks automatically. There are certainly some tax breaks that I support: Those encouraging the development of clean energy and green jobs, for instance. However, the legislature should reauthorize them every five years – at a minimum. If they prove to be productive, we should keep them on the books. But some of the tax breaks are frankly silly and need to be eliminated.

B. Aggressively prosecute corporate cheaters. I believe that if hard working people play by the
rules, they should be able to get ahead. However, time and time again, we see big corporations who are willing to step outside the law. While most of these transgressions have occurred elsewhere, I believe that we must draw the line in the sand against abuses in Washington State.

C. Our discussion about the income tax is not over – not as far as I’m concerned. I intend to be just as vocal a proponent of the progressive income tax in Olympia (and across the whole state) as I have been in this campaign.

3) There is a good chance that the State Senate and/or the Governor’s Mansion will be controlled by Republicans after the next election, and certainly most legislators will be more conservative than people who would be elected in a Seattle district. Given that, how will you get your agenda passed?

I’m a grassroots organizer – my political experience is in the hard work of organizing workers and mobilizing voters. I believe in the power of pressuring elected representatives from below, and I believe the voters of Republican-leaning districts share the concerns of the voters of my own district. We value effective schools and quality infrastructure, and we’re frustrated by a legislature mired in deadlock. I’ve been endorsed by normally Republican-leaning groups such as the Mechanical Contractors Association because I believe in reaching out, listening, forging relationships, and finding common ground. I think the best way to break that deadlock is to speak to voters in conservative districts directly.

I have volunteered to organize a Values and Priorities Tour that crisscrosses our state from small rural towns to urban city centers. In community centers and public school auditoriums, union halls and parking lots, we’ll have a frank discussion about our challenges, our values, the measures we need to introduce some common sense to our tax and budget systems – and what working people can do to help. I’ve learned something important: If we want to change the way our state does business in the face of special interest lobbyists, we’ve got to rally the people who have the most at stake in the decisions Olympia makes.

4) You’re running in a race with many Democrats who share similar positions. What separates you from the rest of the field?

I respect and appreciate the strong progressives in this race. But even in a race where each candidate can advance the right positions and promise the right votes, background matters: It molds the values you’ll refuse to compromise and determines what you’ll fight the hardest for.

I offer a blue-collar background. I’m a plumber by trade, a veteran union organizer and homeowner advocate. I co-founded SustainableWorks, an energy-efficiency nonprofit, to help jumpstart our state’s investment in clean energy jobs. (I’ve helped create jobs in the middle of a recession, while at the same time helping protect the environment — over the last three years, SustainableWorks has created 55 good, family wage jobs.) Last year, I organized a group of homeowners to travel to Olympia to testify in favor of foreclosure mediation legislation. My civic life has been dedicated to creating security and opportunity for working families, and this campaign has been bolstered by the contributions – of money, yes, but primarily of time and sweat – of middle-class workers. I believe that this is a seat we need to retain for working families.

5) Seattle and King County give more to the state than they get back. Part is this is reasonable things like the cost of providing education and social services in rural and suburban areas, but part of it is a lack of respect for Seattle and King County with the legislature that treats us as an ATM. How will you make sure your district gets its fair share of revenue without harming education or social services throughout the state?

The best answer is the politically hardest one: We need a restructuring of our revenue system, and that means communicating directly with our cross-state neighbors. We can change the way Olympia does business, but it starts with a discussion. I’m running to help lead that discussion.

by N in Seattle, 07/24/2012, 5:53 PM

Sometimes, the Seattle Times makes it too easy to criticize their endorsements. Really, Frank, what were you thinking??

  • Jim Kastama for Secretary of State?
  • Steve Hobbs in WA-01? They even suggest writing him in for the special election in the old WA-01.
  • Dual endorsements for the US Senate (Maria and Whatshisface from Spokane), WA-02 (Larsen and some random Republican), and WA-06 (Derek Kilmer and the richie-rich 1%er from Weyerhauser)?

Even when they get one right, they often get something wrong. Consider state Supreme Court Position 8. In that particular race, with only two candidates on the ballot, the primary will decide who earns a full term on the Court. Like everyone who actually examines the candidates, the Times is endorsing the appointed incumbent, Justice Steven Gonzalez. His opponent is a little-known “strict construction” type, whose sole attribute is that he bears an Anglo-Saxon name. It’s well known, of course, that odd results may ensue in low-turnout, low-information elections. It’s also well known that in such races higher ballot position is a distinct advantage (the other guy’s name is above Justice Gonzalez’s on the ballot), and unfortunately it’s also known that in a state with Washington’s demographics a non-”ethnic” surname is a big edge in low-turnout, low-information races.

That’s why I find it rather disingenuous of the Seattle Times to have chosen the photo of Justice Gonzalez displayed here when they published their endorsement on July 5. Mr. Gonzalez certainly looks, well, ethnic in this image.

But that’s not at all the way he looks these days. For that matter, it’s not what he has looked like for quite a long time. For example, video of the news story broadcast on KING-5 when Justice Gonzalez was sworn in is shown below. That video was shot on January 9, 2012, fully six months ago:

As further evidence, I offer several additional recent photos. The first one shown below is from his page on the Supreme Court website. Presumably, it’s his current official portrait. Also displayed here is a shot from his campaign’s photo page. Now, I could have chosen one of the three pictures showing him with a beard, but I instead picked one of the 48 clean-shaven photos. Incidentally, all of the with-beard photos on the campaign site show his facial hair in a much softer, much gentler, less “bandito” light than the one attached to the Times endorsement. (Yes, that’s Edgar Martinez with him.)

How difficult would it have been for the Seattle Times to locate a current photograph of the candidate they were endorsing for a vital spot on the state’s highest court? Is it presumptuous of me to ask whether anyone of the editorial board of the Times noticed that Justice Gonzalez was clean-shaven when they interviewed him in preparation for making their endorsement decision? Yet they still chose to accompany their endorsement of the Justice with a picture that could easily play into the worst preconceptions held by voters in the low-turnout, low-information primary election for Supreme Court Position 8.

by Darryl, 07/24/2012, 5:51 PM


Please join us tonight for an evening of politics and conversation over a pint at the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally.

Also, if your name is Barack, and you happen to be in Seattle for the night, don’t be shy about an unscheduled visit…. I mean, dude, it wouldn’t be the first time a (former) presidential candidate dropped in on us unannounced (Gen. Welsey Clark).

We meet every Tuesday at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00pm. Some people show up earlier for Dinner.

Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out one of the other DL meetings over the next week. The Tri-Cities chapter meets tonight, the Burien chapter meets on Wednesday, and the Woodinville chapter meets on Thursday.

With 230 chapters of Living Liberally, including twelve in Washington state and four in both Oregon and Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter near you.

by Darryl, 07/24/2012, 11:59 AM

A new Elway poll (first reported on Publicola) has been released for the 2012 Washington state gubernatorial contest. The poll of 405 registered voters (5% MOE) surveyed from the 18th to the 22nd of July has former Democratic congressman Jay Inslee leading Republican state AG Rob McKenna by 43% to 36%.

The poll reflects a turn-around in the race that has, until now, mostly been led by McKenna:


If you squint a little, you can probably discern a long-term trend away from a McKenna and toward Inslee.

The regional breakdown in the new poll has Inslee leading McKenna in Seattle (+33%), King County outside Seattle (+8%), Pierce and Kitsap (5%), and North Sound (16%). McKenna leads in Eastern Washington (+9), and they are tied “South and West of Puget Sound.”

As you might imagine, Inslee leads among women (+10%), just as he did in the previous Elway poll (+2%) and last weeks Survey USA poll (+9%). More surprisingly, he now leads among men (+3%), reversing McKenna +5% lead in the previous Elway poll and +11% lead in the Survey USA poll.

Elway chalks up the lead change to a shift in preference among independent voters:

Most of the difference between last month’s findings and these is accounted for by a collapse in McKenna support among Independent voters. McKenna led among Independents by 42-29% in June, but Inslee led Independents by 31-29% this month. Meanwhile, the number of undecided Independents jumped from 29% last month to 40% this month. Since Independents are necessary to winning an election here, this volatility indicates a see-saw battle to November.

I subjected the Elway results to a Monte Carlo analysis of a million simulated elections. The results have a great deal of uncertainty as only 322 voters expressed a preference. The final tally gives Inslee 865,677 wins to McKenna’s 126,742 wins. That is, if the election was held now, the poll results suggests Inslee’s lead would hold with a 87.2% probability, and McKenna would win with a 12.8% probability.

Since Statisticians usually consider 95% probability as the cut-off, Inslee’s lead is “within the margin of error.” Here is the distribution of election outcomes from the simulated elections:


Last week’s Survey USA poll (that I analyzed here) was taken on the 16th and 17th of July, immediately before the Elway poll, and had McKenna leading Inslee 42% to 41%. The poll was a little larger than the Elway poll, with 525 of 630 registered voters expressed a preference for Inslee or McKenna.

What happens if we do a similar analysis using both polls jointly? After a million simulated elections, Inslee came out on top 699,377 times and McKenna won 291,968 times. Thus, Inslee would be expected to win a July election with a probability of 70.5% to McKenna’s 29.5%. Here is the distribution of election outcomes:


Statistically, the race is still a tie, of course.

A final point of interest is the “likeability” measure that has Inslee up 34% to 27%. Unfortunately, this wasn’t reported for the previous Elway poll. One must wonder if the reports of McKenna’s negative interactions with the media are taking a toll. Additionally Jay Inslee’s excellent “introductory” ad that began airing on July 8th has probably helped his image and name recognition among voters.

A plausible reason for McKenna’s erosion of support is the recent Supreme Court ruling on, and the ensuing media coverage of McKenna’s role in the lawsuit against “Obamacare.” Just as voters are getting “in the mood” for the 2012 election season in a year with a polarizing presidential election, the ruling has provided a dose of hard partisan information about McKenna.