Gregoire leads Rossi in new Washington state poll

A new poll in the Washington state gubernatorial race between Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) and Dino Rossi (“G.O.P. Party) has been released by Elway Research. I mentioned the poll in yesterday’s poll round-up, but I had not seen the full report.

It turns out the polling was somewhat complex. The poll sampled 450 registered voters between 6-Sep and 8-Sep. The overall margin of error is 4.5%, although in the most interesting analyses, they split samples in half, giving a margin of error within a group of 6.5%.

Elway split the sample into two groups. Group one was asked to chose between “Republican Dino Rossi” and “Democrat Christine Gregoire.” Group two was asked to chose between labels as they appear on the Washington state ballot. That is, they were asked to chose between Rossi, “who prefers the GOP party” and Gregoire, “who prefers the Democratic party.”

Subgroup one gave Gregoire a 50% to 41% lead over Rossi. Group two gave Gregoire a 48% to 44% lead. With a 6.5% margin of error, the differences in these findings are nowhere near achieving statistical significance. In other words, the differences between the two subgroups could simply reflect sampling error.

Just for fun, let’s analyze these as separate polls and combine them later. As usual, I use a Monte Carlo analysis, consisting of one million simulated elections, drawing from the polled population.

The weakest results for Gregoire come when Rossi is introduced as preferring the “G.O.P. Party.” Following a million simulated elections, Gregoire wins 660435 times and Rossi wins 321369 times. This suggests that, if the election was held now, Gregoire would have a 67.3% probability of beating Rossi. Here is the distribution of vote outcomes from the simulations:

When Rossi is called a Republican, his chances go down a bit. Now, after a million simulated elections, Gregoire wins 834,999 times and Rossi wins 153,178 times. This subsample, treated as its own poll, gives Gregoire an 84.5% of defeating Rossi (if the election were held now).

I would argue for using both samples. First, because the difference is not significant. It may be that Washington voters react negatively to Rossi as a Republican. Or not. The sample size was not sufficient to statistically support the idea. Secondly, because I have a difficult time believing that come November the voters will not think of this as a race between the state’s top Democratic candidate and the state’s top Republican candidate.

In the pooled analysis Gregoire wins 838,346 times. Rossi wins 153,042 times. If the election were held now, based on this poll alone, Gregoire would have an 84.6% probability of defeating Rossi. Here is the distribution:

Let’s consider one more permutation. The new Elway poll actually falls between two other recent polls, so lets pool all the recent polls. The recent Rasmussen poll was conducted on 10-Sep. It gave Rossi a 52% to 46% lead over Gregoire. And the slightly older SurveyUSA poll was conduted from 5-Sep to 7-Sep. It gave Rossi a 48% to 47% lead over Gregoire.

When the Elway results are pooled with the Rasmussen and SurveyUSA results, Gregoire wins 451,469 times and Rossi wins 541,349 times. In other words, these recent polls suggest that, if the election were held now, Gregoire would have a 45.5% probability of winning and Rossi would have a 54.5% probability of winning.


One final note. In my previous analysis of this race I pointed out that both the SurveyUSA and Rasmussen “polls show a surprising decline in Obama’s standing against McCain—a post-convention decline that is larger than anything I’ve seen in other blue states.” The suggestion was that, perhaps, both polls, by chance, drew samples that were favorable to both Rossi and McCain. There were some hints of this in the cross-tabs of both polls (like a surge in women chosing McCain in the Rasmussen poll).

The Elway poll lends a bit more support for the idea. In a McCain–Obama match-up, Obama came out ahead of McCain, 45% to 38%. The +7% advantage for Obama is more in line with other polling than is the +2% found in the Rasmussen poll and the +4% found in the SurveyUSA poll.

But without additional evidence, I’m forced to take the pooled results and giving Rossi a very narrow lead over Gregoire right now.

(Cross posted at Hominid Views.)


  1. 1

    More Important spews:

    CNN’s Crowley: Obama Team Wanted ‘Horrific’ Wall Street Headlines
    By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)
    September 16, 2008 – 11:20 ET

    Do you think the recent stock market collapse or troubles in the banking system are good news?
    Well, according to CNN’s Candy Crowley, the Obama campaign does.
    On Monday’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” after CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said “what happened over the weekend with the economy and the bottom falling out of the financial markets…is the opportunity for Obama to seize the momentum back on his side,” Crowley actually said, “[J]ust as foreclosures were showing up on B-17, or in the real estate section, along comes this horrific headline out of Wall Street…I mean, this is what they wanted.”
    I kid you not. The transcript of this disgraceful exchange follows (video embedded right, h/t Steve Malzberg):

  2. 2


    “without additional evidence”

    Well, the Elway Poll is as close as you get in Washington to the prestige (and accuracy) of the Field Poll in California.

    I know you don’t weight on such matters, but that’s a mighty significant (in the non-technical sense) piece of evidence.

  3. 4

    ArtFart spews:

    1 Shall we talk about “wanting” a couple of jetliners to crash into the WTC towers on 9/11?

  4. 6

    YLB spews:

    I’m reminded when poor hapless Mr. Cynical blurted in a moment of fevered excitement, “Rossi will be just like Palin”.

    Heh. I agree.

    Re-elect Christine Gregoire and spare Washington State from the avariciousness, vindictiveness and small-mindedness of BIAW/Palin-style politics.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Voters Sue Michigan Republicans

    Several Michigan voters are seeking to enjoin the Republican Party from challenging voters who have received foreclosure notices.

    A Michigan liberal blog reported that Macomb County Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli has vowed to make sure no one on a foreclosure list will vote in his county.

    Macomb County is a crucial swing district in a crucial swing state. Michigan, with 17 electoral votes, probably is a “must win” state for Obama.

    Michigan’s state Democratic Party chair says Carabelli’s comment “fits the pattern we’ve seen here in Michigan” of the Republican Party trying to suppress Democratic voters, especially in districts with a heavy concentration of African-American voters.

    About half of the Michigan homes in foreclosure are occupied by blacks. A federal injunction, applicable nationwide, issued over 25 years ago and still in effect, prohibits the Republican Party from interfering with the voting rights of blacks, which is also a felony crime under a federal statute.

    Republicans made extensive efforts in 2004 to block African-Americans from voting, including targeting black soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending registered letters to their home addresses in the U.S. and then challenging their votes because the soldiers weren’t able to sign for the letters.

    Republicans claim a foreclosure notice is evidence of voting fraud. This is absurd. The existence of a foreclosure notice doesn’t mean the voter has moved. He may have paid the mortgage delinquency, negotiated a forbearance agreement with the lender, or may still be living in the home pending finalization of the foreclosure. And if he has moved, he would be entitled to register and vote at his new residence — even if he’s homeless.

    Personally, I think Carabelli and his ilk should all be fitted for orange jumpsuits, preferably with “Ultra Security Inmate” imprinted on the back like they use for terrorism suspects, because these guys basically are terrorists. An honest prosecutor can nail them for contempt of court for violating the 25-year-old injunction, and you can prosecute them for violating the Voting Rights Act.

  6. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In Alaska, 5 Republican legislators have filed a lawsuit to block the “Troopergate” investigation of their party’s vice presidential candidate.

    Apparently they know that story’s ending and want to keep the rest of us in suspense until after the election.

  7. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In other news, federal regulators of our Republican government insisted today that a plastic widely used in baby bottles and food packaging is safe despite an independent study linking it to heart disease and diabetes.

    This isn’t all bad, though. Republicans consume that stuff, too.

  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Sarah Palin has been quoted as saying, “I will see Jesus come back to earth in my lifetime.” Meanwhile, we can assume she’s feeding her babies from bottles made of Biophenal A to speed things along.

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Whiny Little Girl Dep’t

    In other news, Cindy McCain complained to a group of supporters that the big bad media is “picking on” her husband and his campaign.

  10. 14

    kirkregard spews:

    Remember, Pontius Pilate was a Governor…just like Chrisine Gregoire

    Gregoire killed Jesus!!!

    Go figure, Democrats want to kill the unborn, the born, old people, and messiahs.

    Why do Democrats hate life?

  11. 15

    rhp6033 spews:

    Roger @ 7: Yep, along with the forged mail-in ballots appearing in Democratic mailboxes in Wisconsin (appearing to be authentic, but with a wrong address appearing on the return envelope), it appears that the Republican Party is well on it’s way to attempt to steal this election.

    Problem is, the Bush-appointed attorney general in Washington D.C. isn’t going to do a thing to enforce the election laws between now and the election. He’s already on record as saying that “not every violation of the law is a crime” as he refused to prosecute Gonzales and others for violating federal laws in making political loyalty a priority in hiring into the Justice Dept.

    There’s liars, and there’s crooks, but there’s nothing lower, slimier, and stinking than an election crook. We need to get the Republican party out of power so they can be investigated and prosecuted in the same manner they should have been prosecuted years ago.

  12. 16

    rhp6033 spews:

    By the way, I’m having flashbacks from the Republican political advertising and comments these days.

    McCain says he has a plan to win the war in Iraq, but can’t discuss it. I guess he’s taking a play from Nixon in 1968, who claimed to have a “secret plan” for ending the war in Vietnam. Turned out his plan was to escalate the war while trying to get the Soviet Union and China to pressure N. Vietnam to conceed (which they had no reason to do). It didn’t work.

    And now Rossi’s claiming that he can cut the budget “without hurting our neediest citizens”. Sounds a lot like George W. Bush’s claims in 2000 that he was a “compasionate conservative”. We all know how that turned out, as well.

    The are both trying to peddle the same ‘ol snake-oil.

  13. 17

    rhp6033 spews:

    14: Huh?

    Methinks you’ve been sniffing the Dust Off (TM) too much. Better take it easy, that stuff can kill you.

  14. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    New polling data suggests the “Palin effect” is wearing off and Palin’s unfavorability ratings are rising rapidly as a result of her stumbles over the Bush doctrine, Bridge to Nowhere, Troopergate investigation, earmarks, and other controversies swirling around her.

    (Source: Andrew Romano in Newsweek)

  15. 22

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’m wondering if the time difference between the Elway Poll (Sept. 6-8) and the Rasmussen poll (Sept. 10) is significant.

    The Elway poll started on the Saturday following the Democratic convention, and ended the following Monday (just as the Repubican convention was starting, albeit with a first day shortened by the hurricane). This might reflect the “bounce” expected after a party convention from which Gregoire might also benefit (although McCain’s appointment of Palin kind of “stepped on” that bounce a bit, knocking Obama out of the news cycle).

    The Rasmussen Poll took place on the 10th, right in the middle of the Republican convention. Kind of a strange time to be polling.

    Maybe the next poll will be more informative or consistent. I’m interested to see if anyone polls this week, given the financial meltdown on Wall Street yesterday.

    Looks like the Fed putting another 70 billion of taxpayer money into the system had some effect, even if the Fed didn’t cut rates. And the government also pledged taxpayer guarantees of industry loans to AIG, which saved it for at least one more day. The stock market rebounded a bit, up some 141 points. Actually, I expected it to go up a bit more as bargain-hunters moved in. Obviously, the White House is happy it closed a bit higher than 11,000. Anything less than that draws unfavorable references to how near it is to the starting point of Bush’s presidency.

  16. 23

    rhp6033 spews:

    Correction to # 22: It appears that the taxpayer guarantees to AIG have not been finalized, and there is some doubt about whether they will occur. As of an hour ago, meetings were still being conducted behind closed doors with the head of the New York Federal Reserve in attendance, and possibly Treasury Dept. officials by phone. There may be big announcements one way or the other before the opening bell on Wednesday morning.

  17. 24

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Rove machine is launching an all-out offensive against the “Troopergate” investigation. It’s got a few Alaska State Troopers lined up as nominal plaintiffs in a lawsuit to stop the investigation.

    And Palin has said she won’t cooperate, claiming the investigation is “tainted” by partison politics.

    Funny, I thought the Alaska State Legislature which called for the investigation is controlled by Republicans. I’m guessing that the national Republican Party is putting quite a bit of arm-twisting right now on those Alaska legislaturs, trying to get them to rescind the investigation. How well they resist such old-boy network brow-beating will show how much the Republican Party has really changed in Palin’s home state.

  18. 25

    rhp6033 spews:

    Hmmm, it appears that the Lehman Bros. CEO is supposed to get a golden parachute of $200 million. I’d like to see how the U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approaches that claim for compensation.

  19. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    The McCain campain seems to have settled into two methods of responding to any criticism of McCain or Palin.

    Any question which has potential for embarrassment for McCain is simply met with a reference to his POW experience. He has too many homes? Well, he didn’t have any home while he was a POW. He doesn’t know how to use E-mail? His injuries as a POW prevent him from doing that. You get the picture.

    As for Palin, any questioning of her qualifications, record, or character are dismissed as being “sexist”, and investigations into her conduct are “tainted”.

    Thereby McCain & Palin both avoid any serious questions about their qualifications, character, or policies.

  20. 27



    “Darryl, who did Elway sample this time vs. Rasmussen?”

    I’m not sure I follow your question, but here is a stab at an answer. Rasmussen is a robo-poll that samples likely voters. I’ve actually participated in one of their polls earlier this year, and it is pretty straight-forward.

    Elway samples registered voters who have actually voted in a recent election. They have human questioners. Elway also offers a detailed explanation of the differences between the Elway polls and SurveyUSA/Rasmussen methods.

  21. 28

    ArtFart spews:

    11 One can’t help but wonder, should she have access to the Big Red Switch, how eager Palin would be to give Armageddon a nuclear nudge.

  22. 30

    Tom Foss spews:

    14 and others-

    well, one must ask that since Jesus was a community organizer, and Pontius Pilate was a Governor, how does that sit with you? With all of us? And, if we stuck Sarah in S. Chicago, as a community organizer, how long would she survive?

    But of more relevance, we know Sarah has no clue at all on world affairs. She thinks that Iraq was at the heart of the 9/11 attacks, sees Russia from her islands but has no clue what they are up to and where they are going, etc, and has shown no interest in world affairs.

    But let me ask another question. Has Sarah ever been to South Chicago? East Memphis? The Bronx or Harlem? NE Wa DC? The huff in cleveland? Philly? East LA? Or even the main streets in these cities?

    In other words, to answer this question, she knows less than jack shit about any of the tough neighborhoods in America, and how people live, and perhaps even less about our major cities. How many states has she been to? Can she name the capitals?

    I will stop for now, But what a flaming insult to all of us that the cronic liar and hypocrite, McCain, is saying she is qualified to even be mayor of Spokane or Tacoma, much less VP.

    Awake from your drug addled escape from reality. Our problems are real. Send her back to Wasilla, with her cronies that she appointed to state positions they are incompetent to hold. But, hey, its Alaska, so it does not really matter.


  23. 31

    PU spews: