WA-GOV: Polling Disconnect

We have a couple of new polls in the Washington gubernatorial race. Elway, a Washington-based pollster, gives Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire a 16-point lead over ...
by | August 7, 2008

We have a couple of new polls in the Washington gubernatorial race. Elway, a Washington-based pollster, gives Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire a 16-point lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi. Strategic Vision only gives her a two-point lead.

This is the way the polls have looked for months now. Gregoire is almost always ahead, but her lead sometimes looks mighty and other times looks miniscule.

At Swing State Project, Crisitunity makes a good point. Two pollsters, Elway and Rasmussen, have fairly consistently been giving Gregoire a significant lead. But two others, SurveyUSA and Strategic Vision, have reported that the race is very close.

Luckily, we won't have to wait until November to get a little more clarity. The primary in Washington is August 19. It's always fun to compare how many votes leading candidates win in their respective primaries, but, because of Washington's new top-two primary system, that comparison will be especially telling in this case.

Gregoire and Rossi will actually be squaring off against each other, and against the minor gubernatorial candidates, on the ballot (with the top two, presumably Gregoire and Rossi, advancing to the general election). This will be, in effect, a trial run of the fall Gregoire-Rossi showdown.

Of course, as with any primary, the turnout dynamics will be different from the general election. However, since this is Washington, a strong turnout is expected. The Secretary of State predicts that 46% of eligible voters will cast ballots in the primary.

So, even if the primary won't be definitively tell us who is ahead and by how much, it will be at least a tad elucidating. When polls conflict, what better way to break the tie than at the polls?

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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