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.