Poll: Inslee and McKenna are tied

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a new Washington state poll today that covers the gubernatorial race between Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA-01) and A.G. Rob McKenna (R). The poll surveyed 1,264 Washington voters (MOE 2.76%) from Feb. 16th to the 19th.

The poll finds Inslee and McKenna tied at 42% each, with 16% undecided.

With a tied result, I won’t even bother with a Monte Carlo analysis…each candidate would win about half the simulated elections.

The tie is quite a change from two recent polls. A SurveyUSA poll taken from Feb. 13th to the 16th had McKenna leading Inslee, 49% to 39%. And shortly before that, a Elway poll taken from Feb. 7th to the 9th had McKenna leading Inslee 45% to 36%.

The SurveyUSA poll and the new PPP poll cover a continuous range of dates, from Feb 13th to the 19th, lets pool the results of the two polls and do a Monte Carlo analysis. After a million simulated elections using the two polls, Inslee wins 150,944 times and McKenna wins 845,007 times. In other words, an election held now would result in a win for McKenna with a probability of 84.8% and a win for Inslee with a 15.2% probability.

Here is the distribution of outcomes from the simulated elections:


The cross-tabs in the PPP poll suggest that Inslee may have a little more to gain from the undecided vote. McKenna’s has captured much of his base, with fewer undecideds among groups that tend to support him. Inslee’s support seems less solid, but that means he has more potential to win over undecideds. A positive sign for McKena is the Independents, who go for him over Inslee, 43% to 31% with a non-trivial number of undecideds.

There were a few of other interesting items polled.

Initiative 502, that would regulate, tax, and legalize marijuana is up 47% to 39% with 15% undecided.

Finally, a question over marriage equality found:

  • 46% — Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry
  • 32% — Gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry
  • 20% — There should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship
  • 2% — Not sure

In the race for A.G., King County councilmember Reagan Dunn (R) leads King County councilmember Bob Ferguson, 34% to 32% with 34% undediced. The previous poll in this race, a September SurveyUSA poll, had Ferguson at 39%, Dunn at 34% and 26% undecided.


  1. 1

    rhp6033 spews:

    It was just a week ago I, and others here, were complaining that Inslee didn’t appear to be in campaign mode yet, and the numbers showed it.

    What’s happened since the previous poll to account for the change? I still haven’t seen hide nor hair of Inslee campaigning, and he isn’t advertising yet.

    The only thing I can see is that the signs point pretty strongly to a definate improvement in the economy, with the Puget Sound region (Boeing and it’s vendors in the region) leading the way. I don’t see how that effects the governor’s race much, though.

  2. 2


    I’m guessing that the differences lie more in the methodology behind the polling (do they call cell phones? etc) that in any actual movement towards Inslee.

  3. 3

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    I fully expect Inslee to win. After all, this is the bluest of the blue states, so Inslee will defeat McKenna in November.

  4. 4

    Michael spews:


    What’s happened since the previous poll to account for the change? I still haven’t seen hide nor hair of Inslee campaigning, and he isn’t advertising yet

    Nothing much has changed, but Inslee has been getting around the state quite a bit and picking up lots-o-endorsements. On the one hand I’d like to see him more visible and on the other hand I realize that it’s still really early. A big roll out with tons of endorsements a bit later in the year would look pretty sweet.

  5. 5

    sayke spews:

    I’m not surprised – campaign season is winding up and people are starting to pay more attention! Inslee does seem to be getting out and about a bit more, too, like Michael said, so that’s probably a factor. The insanity of the Republican presidential primary might be helping Inslee too, of course =D

  6. 6

    proud leftist spews:

    McKenna doesn’t have a chance. He aligns himself with a party that hasn’t a whiff of sanity about it any more. That will not play in Washington.

  7. 7

    Tom spews:

    I still want to know Inslee’s strategy. I signed up in his campaign website to get updates on what I can do, and so far nothing. Maybe he’s saving his cannonballs for a little later, so he doesn’t run out of money too early?

  8. 8

    Laura spews:

    PPP is a good pollster. As for SurveyUSA, weren’t they the ones that showed Dino with a huge lead over Patty Murray sometime around spring/summer 2010? Their numbers have seemed to lean Republican on more than one occasion.

  9. 11


    Oh…yeah, I was looking at the wrong side of the tie line. You can see the light blue SUSA poll to which you refer. But SUSA was a pretty solid pollster in 2008. I collected many hundreds of their poll results for Prez, Gov, and Sen races. Overall, they weren’t particularly out of line.