Intentionally or otherwise, FBI Director James Comey has turned the 11/08/16 general election upside down, triggering a red riptide that may extend beyond the top of the ticket, according to SurveyUSA research conducted in Washington State for KING-TV in Seattle.
Pollsters, like candidates, are in uncharted waters during these final 5 days of the 2016 campaign. That caveat acknowledged, here is SurveyUSA’s best take on the numbers we have gathered:
Democrat Hillary Clinton is way ahead among Washington state voters who have already returned a ballot, but the contest is effectively even among likely voters who have not yet voted. When the 2 groups are combined, it’s Clinton 50%, Trump 38%, minor party candidates 9%.
Incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is way ahead among Washington state voters who have already returned a ballot, but Republican Bill Bryant leads among likely voters who have not yet voted. When the 2 groups are combined, it’s Inslee 50%, Bryant 43%.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray is way ahead among Washington State voters who have already returned a ballot, but Republican Chris Vance draws even with Murray among likely voters who have not yet voted. When the 2 groups are combined, it’s Murray 53%, Vance 41%.
Here are 3 different ways to interpret the discrepancy between early and late voters across all of the top-of-ticket contests:
1: Republicans in 2016 are all talk, no walk. They won’t show up on Election Day. Democrats cruise to victory in Washington State and elsewhere.
2: The air went out of the Democrats’ balloon with Comey’s 10/28/16 announcement; the wind is now at the Republicans’ back. All bets are off.
3: Clinton’s “ground game” has her just where she is supposed to be; the Comey announcement is a non-story.
Next Tuesday, we’ll know which of these hypotheses is correct.
Clinton leads by 31 points among the youngest voters but by just 5 among seniors. The younger the electorate, the better Clinton will do. Trump leads by 24 points in Eastern WA. Clinton leads 2:1 in metropolitan Seattle. Trump holds 85% of the Republican base. Clinton holds 94% of the Democratic base. Independents split. Moderate break for Clinton 5:3. Clinton leads by 12 points among the most affluent voters and by 22 points among the most educated voters. She leads by 22 points in urban Washington and by 19 points in suburban Washington. Trump leads by 10 points in rural Washington. Clinton leads by 29 points among single voters; married voters split. Clinton leads by 27 points among voters who have lived in Washington State less than 20 years. Clinton leads by just 7 points among those who have lived in Washington more than 20 years.
Among voters who say honesty is the most important quality in a Presidential candidate, Trump leads Clinton by more than 2:1. Among voters who say integrity is the most important quality, Clinton leads Trump by 18 points. Among voters who say the economy is the most important issue in the choice of a President, Clinton leads Trump by 15 points. Among voters who say the Supreme Court is the most important issue, Trump leads Clinton by 20 points. Of Clinton backers, 64% are voting “for Clinton,” 35% are voting “against Trump.” Of Trump backers, 59% are voting “for Trump,” 38% are voting “against Clinton.”
Inslee leads by 23 points in metropolitan Seattle, edges Bryant in Western WA, but trails Bryant by more than 2:1 in Eastern WA. Inslee leads by 11 among women, and more specifically leads by 15 points among suburban women. Bryant leads by 14 points among rural men, but trails by 14 points among urban men and by 4 points among suburban men. Inslee leads by 21 points among the youngest voters, but trails Bryant by 3 points among seniors. Of Trump supporters, 92% vote for Bryant. Of Clinton supporters, 88% vote for Inslee, 9% defect to Bryant.
Of voters who say the economy is the most important issue in the contest for Governor, Inslee edges Bryant 49% to 44%. Of voters who say education is most important in the Governor’s race, Inslee leads by 52 points. Of voters who say taxes are most important, Bryant leads by 60 points.
Murray is positioned for reelection to her 5th term in the United States Senate, with a 33-point lead among urban women and a 23-point lead among suburban women. Vance leads by 10 points in military households and leads by 28 points in Eastern WA. Of those voting for the Republican Bryant for Governor, 84% vote for the Republican Vance for Senator, 13% cross-over for Murray. Of those who vote for the Democrat Inslee for Governor, 92% stay with the Democrat Murray for Senator.
In the election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a large number of undecided voters make the outcome uncertain. Among voters with a preference, Chris Reykdal edges Erin Jones 32% to 28%, but 41% of likely voters are not sure how they will vote for Superintendent. Among voters who say they have already returned a ballot, Reykdal and Jones are tied, 35% each. Too-close-to-call.
Initiative 1433, which would raise the minimum wage, leads 56% to 38% at this hour, with overwhelming support among early voters, tepid support among those who have not yet returned a ballot. 1433 leads by 35 points among high-school educated voters and by 35 points among lower-income voters. The measure is almost certain to pass.
Initiative 732, which would impose a carbon emission tax on the sale or use of certain fossil fuels, trails badly at this hour and is likely to be defeated. Republicans oppose 732 by nearly 6:1, conservatives oppose 732 by 7:1. Democrats favor 732 but only by 5:4.
* 32% of voters have an extremely favorable opinion of President Barack Obama, 31% have an extremely unfavorable opinion.
* 14% of voters have an extremely favorable opinion of Clinton, 41% have an extremely unfavorable opinion.
* 12% of voters have an extremely favorable opinion of Trump, 51% have an extremely unfavorable opinion.
Context and Methodology:
SurveyUSA interviewed 800 state of Washington adults 10/31/16 through 11/02/16. All of the interviews for this survey were completed after the 10/28/16 announcement by the FBI that it had found State Department emails on a previously unknown electronic device. Of the adults interviewed, 734 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, just 2% say they will not vote in 2016 because they do not like any of the candidates on the ballot. 3% say they almost never vote in a Presidential election but will vote in 2016 because they are uniquely drawn to one of the candidates. Of the registered voters, 681 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already returned a ballot or to be certain to do so before polls close on 11/08/16. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (61% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (39% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on the display of their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. In 2012, Obama carried Washington state by 15 percentage points over Republican Mitt Romney. In 2008, Obama carried Washington by 17 points over Republican John McCain. In 2004, Democrat John Kerry carried Washington by 7 points over George W Bush. In 2000, Democrat Al Gore carried Washington by 5 points. The last Republican to win Washington was Ronald Reagan in 1984. In 2016, Washington has 12 electoral votes.