Big Surprise in Washington State Race for U.S. Senator


July 17, 2010

A new Rasmussen poll indicates a three-time incumbent senator might be in trouble.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) continues to slide in popularity. A two-time unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate, Dino Rossi; and a former National Football League star turned-farmer, Clint Didier, now hold narrow leads in the Senate race.

“Incumbents that fall short of 50 percent at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable, but worrisome for Murray is that this is her poorest showing of the year,” according to an article at Rasmussen. “She was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 55 percent of the vote.”

Mr. Rossi and Mr. Didier both have 48 percent of the responding voter preferences against Ms. Murray and her 45 percent. Fewer than 10 percent are undecided or indicate a preference for other candidates.

The poll was conducted with likely voters.

“Washington’s Senate race looks increasingly like a referendum on incumbent Democrat Patty Murray with two Republican candidates edging past her this month,” according to the article.

Rasmussen reports Ms. Murray and Mr. Rossi have been tied in every poll in 2010.

“Incumbents that fall short of 50 percent at this stage of a campaign are considered potentially vulnerable, but worrisome for Murray is that this is her poorest showing of the year,” “She was reelected to a third term in 2004 with 55 percent of the vote.”

The Washington state race is a toss-up – one of nine according to Rasmussen Reports’  Senate Balance of Power rankings.

But in Washington state, the biggest decline for Ms. Murray occurs in a matchup with Mr. Didier.

“Last month, Murray led Didier, a former professional football player, 48 percent to 40 percent,” states Rasmussen. “Prior to that survey, Didier’s support had ranged from 30 percent to 37 percent since January. In the same time period, Murray earned 47 percent to 51 percent in match-ups with Didier.”

A third Republican candidate is also faring better against Ms. Murray.

“… businessman Paul Akers, continues to trail Murray. But in the latest survey, the incumbent leads Akers 46 percent to 41 percent, while a month ago she was ahead 48 percent to 38 percent,” states Rasmussen.

In every matchup, Republicans are favored by men and Democrats get support from most women.

Among Independent voters, Mr. Rossi has a slightly more than two-to-one edge, and Mr. Didier performs almost as well. Mr. Akers is also ahead but not as much as either Mr. Rossi or Mr. Didier.

“Just seven percent of Washington voters now rate the economy as good or excellent, while nearly half (49 percent) say it’s poor,” reports Rasmussen. “Thirty percent think the economy is getting better, but 45 percent say it’s getting worse.”

The poll indicates 72 percent believe the U.S. is in a recession.

“Support for last year’s $787-billion economic stimulus plan which Murray supported is higher in Washington than it is nationally with voters in the state closely divided over whether it helped or hurt the economy,” states Rasmussen. “But even in Washington, only 30 percent think the increased spending in the stimulus plan created new jobs, while 52 percent disagree and say it did not create any new jobs.

As far as job creation is concerned, responding voters – by 58 percent to 25 percent – prefer cutting taxes vis-à-vis more government spending.

“Fifty-four percent of Washington voters favor repeal of the national health care bill, which Murray supported, while 44 percent oppose repeal,” according to the pollster. “This is in line with voter sentiments nationally and includes 43 percent who Strongly Favor repeal and 37 percent who are Strongly Opposed.”

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus four percent.

From the Coach’s Corner, my sense is that factors for the changes reflected in this Rasmussen poll include voter unrest over new taxes and violation of transparency standards by the Washington State Legislature. See: Tax Increases Will Cost Washington Businesses, Consumers $6.7 Billion Next 10 Years.

More Voters Say Washington State is Headed the Wrong Way


May 24, 2010

Washington state is headed south when it needs to go north. That’s what a larger percentage of voters is saying.

Disapproval ratings have significantly increased over the last six months, according to a new University of Washington poll. In fact, it’s a 16 percent increase in voter disapproval ratings – 44 percent of respondents believe Washington is “seriously on the wrong track.”

The double-digit increase in disapproval ratings – up from 38 percent in Oct. 2009 – was reflected in the nonpartisan academic poll, The Washington Poll. Forty-one percent say Washington is “going in the right direction.” Fifteen percent answered “don’t know.”

Voter opinions appear to coincide with the state’s economy. Sixty-two percent say “jobs/economy” will be the most important issue in the Nov. 2010 elections.

Twenty-seven percent cite healthcare reform as the No. 1 election issue.

Regarding the performance of Gov. Chris Gregoire, 17 percent “strongly approve” and 27 percent “somewhat approve.” But her disapproval ratings as a Democratic governor are higher than her approval ratings. Seventeen percent “strongly disapprove” and 30 percent “somewhat disapprove” of her performance.

Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, is favored by 42 percent while 39 percent indicate they’ll vote Republican.

When pitted against potential Republican candidate Dino Rossi, she holds a narrow 44 to 40 percentage lead with a margin error of 3.9 percent. The margin of error in the other contests is only 2.8 percent.

Thirty-five percent favor the income tax initiative on well-to-do state residents. But another 17 percent who lean yes also say they could change their minds, and another 10 percent are undecided. Meantime, 23 percent oppose it. Another 5 percent who lean no, say they might switch. Two percent who are undecided lean no.

Overall, the Legislature received an approval rating of 36 percent but netted a 43 percent disapproval rating.

Conducted in early May, 1,252 registered voters were surveyed in the poll sponsored by the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality at the University of Washington School of Social Sciences.

To view the polling data: statewide, and the party and region.

Certainly, these results are not a surprise. The economy has been worsened by bad public policy. Again in the 2010 session, the Washington State Legislature violated standards of transparency, hiked taxes by $800 million, and failed to take prudent steps to head off another multi-billion dollar deficit in the near future.

What’s needed is reform for good government.

From the Coach’s Corner, to stay current on how state politics affects business, and for a wealth of data and information, visit these sites:, and

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.