New poll suggests good news for Nickels?

There’s a new Washington Poll on Seattle races out today, and it has the pundits punditing. Over on Slog, Bryan remarks on the four-way statistical tie for second place in the mayor’s race, and the Bag Fee measure’s unsurprising 41-55 deficit. Meanwhile, mayoral challenger James Donaldson is touting his (outside the margin of error) advantage in a head to head matchup with incumbent Greg Nickels, while over at Publicola, Josh seems transfixed by Mike McGinn’s relative advantage with Republican voters.

But the data that jumps out at me are the job approval ratings for Mayor Nickels, and the right track/wrong track numbers for the city of Seattle as a whole.

Now normally, anytime an incumbent’s job approval falls below 50 percent, that’s pretty bad news for one’s reelection prospects, but with Mayor Nickels consistently mired in the mid-thirties throughout much of his two terms, you kinda hafta grade him on a curve. So 46 percent…? I’m betting Nickels people are giddily pinching themselves at such an unexpected outpouring of mild nonsupport.

Combine that with a 55-32 percent advantage on the right track/wrong track question, and Seattle voters don’t come across nearly as negative and pessimistic as Nickels challengers were counting on.

I know this was supposed to be the Summer of our discontent, but if you still believe that the runner-up, whoever he or she may be, will waltz into the mayor’s office come November, get ready to be disappointed.


  1. 1

    rhp6033 spews:

    “I’m betting Nickels people are giddily pinching themselves at such an unexpected outpouring of mild nonsupport.”

    Nice turn of phrase.

  2. 2

    watcher spews:

    The new Nickels ad shows Obama praising him for work with other mayors….very excellent ad.

    Expect to see this one a few hundred times.

  3. 3

    joel connelly spews:

    23 percent? Good news?
    Of course, you don’t reference the Strange Bedfellows blog in which the poll’s overseer, UW political scientist Matt Barreto, delivers an interpretation of the data 180 degrees apart from yours.

  4. 4


    Joel @3,

    No snub intended, but you posted yours about 23 minutes after I posted mine, so of course I didn’t reference it.

    That said, I don’t see much interpretation from Barreto in your post. Of course Nickels is polling way weaker than typically is necessary for an incumbent to win reelection, but as I’ve argued before, I think his opponents are all weak in their own ways, and in the end, the dissatisfaction with mayor is faddish rather than based on specific failings. If Nickels loses in November it won’t be by much, and depending on who he draws in the general it wouldn’t surprise me to see him win by double digits.

    And yes, a 46 percent approval and 40 percent favorable is good news for the mayor considering where those numbers were a couple months ago.

  5. 5

    Aaron spews:

    Joel, be nice. Goldy posted at 2:02, and you posted in Strange Bedfellows at 2:25, so it makes sense he didn’t reference it. I think Nickels will win, but the numbers are interesting.

    Did you just call Matt Barreto up on the phone to get those comments? Wow, amazing.

  6. 6

    eastsider spews:

    Crime is listed as only 6% as the most important
    issue in the mayoral election;the prison unions
    should all have a broad smile on their faces.
    Or perhaps,Seattlites considers everything listed as important,just not quite in significance.

  7. 7

    Charla Neuman spews:

    Regardless of UW’s comments, I don’t remember the last time I saw a poll where the incumbent lost out to candidate “undecideds”…that’s cause for sleepless nights. Even in his closing remarks on KCTS’s online candidate video voter guide, Nickels says cautiously that “hopefully” he will be on the ballot in the fall…

  8. 8

    rhp6033 spews:

    So what does polling identify as the major issue in the mayoral contest? Last year’s snow removal? The city budget? Crime? Police oversight? Grocery bags?

    Although I don’t live within the Seattle city limits, I get the impression that most Seattle residents are generally pretty content. It could make for a boring election.

  9. 9

    MallahanSucks spews:

    @7 Mallahan’s spokes person is saying something negative about Nickel’s… big surprise!

    I hope you guys loose, you shouldn’t be able to buy an election. Labor groups will kick your behinds.