Washington Poll shows little sign of Legislative wave election

No doubt Republicans will pick up seats in the state Legislature this year.

After years of gains, the Democrats now hold near supermajorities in both the House and Senate, having pushed the demographic limits throughout Western Washington. Even with a good economy and a favorable political climate, you’d have to expect the Democratic winning streak to end sometime… and this most definitely is not a good economy nor a favorable political climate. Democrats are in trouble in several swing district seats, and will inevitably give back some of their recent gains.

But Republicans expecting 2010 to be like 1994 all over again will be sorely disappointed, at least according to the latest numbers released by the widely respected Washington Poll.

Sure, the baseline numbers show a virtual tie, with Democrats holding a statistically insignificant 39-38 lead on the generic legislative question, a far cry from their current legislative majorities. But when you delve into the numbers, things just don’t look all that scary:

Thinking ahead to the November election for Washington state legislature, are you planning to vote for the Republican candidate, or the Democratic candidate?

Democrat Republican
Statewide total39%38%
Puget Sound region46%30%
Eastern Washington25%58%
Other Western WA45%34%

Republican strength is substantially overstated by their better than two-to-one advantage in Eastern Washington. But the GOP already holds nearly all the legislative seats in that part of the state, so there aren’t a lot of pickup opportunities out there.

Here in the Puget Sound region and the rest of Western Washington, home to more than three quarters of our state’s legislative districts (and three quarters of the poll’s respondents), generic Democrats still hold a double-digit lead over their generic Republican opponents. Combine that with the fact that the economy is improving faster here than in the rest of the state, and I just don’t see the makings of a 1994-style Big Red Wave™.

Yeah, things could change between now and the election, but given these numbers, and the quality of the challengers the WSRP is putting up, I’d say House Speaker Frank Chopp has more to fear from losing support within his own caucus than he does from losing his majority.


  1. 1


    Can’t speak to the quality of candidate recruitment elsewhere, but here in the 26th (an R leaning swing district with two D incumbents) they have two people running who I’ve never heard of.

    Doubt they have pickups here.

  2. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What I don’t understand is why anyone would react to the Republican-caused economic crisis by voting Republican. The legislature should be 100% Democratic next January. There’s no reason to elect even one Republican! Voting GOP is not only antisocial and un-American, it’s criminal.

  3. 4

    Krist Novoselic spews:

    Goldy hit the nail on the head regarding the concentration of voters in various districts. Seems to be similar to the UK where votes don’t translate proportionally to seats.

  4. 5

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    While Oba-Mao’s national failure & sinking ship does not necessarily translate into a clean sweep by Republicans who are smart enough to adopt the Tea party Platform—
    today’s Rasmussen is absolutely stunningly bad for Democrats–

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -18. Following passage of health care, enthusiasm for the president among Democrats soared. Today, however, just 49% of Democrats Strongly Approve of Obama’s performance.

    Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters nationwide favor repeal of the health care law. That’s the highest level of support for repeal yet measured. Overall, 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s performance. Fifty-four percent (55%) disapprove.

    Oba-Mao will likely have little impact on Murray either way in Washington. However, in most in-play States, candidates will be distancing themselves from the self-proclaimed l’il m messiah.

  5. 8

    Chris Vance spews:


    Your analysis ignores the massive advantage Ds have in Seattle and Tacoma. To know what is going on in swing districts we would need a number that excludes eastern Washington and the 6th and 7th congressional districts. We don’t have that.