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Washington voters concerned about democracy, think vote-by-mail should expand: WA Poll

According to new poll results released Sunday, only 13% of the registered Washington state voters polled said the country's democracy is strong and resilient.

SEATTLE — Republicans in Washington state said US democracy is "weakening and may collapse" as Democrats in the state said it's "holding firm but being threatened" amid a contentious midterm election cycle nationwide, according to WA Poll results.

The midterm elections are less than three weeks away, marking a crucial point in time for candidates to make their case and win votes, and races all over the country have been heating up.

As Republicans look to flip both houses of congress and Democrats hope to hold on to their slim majority or gain seats, one thing is for certain, voters are concerned about the state of democracy in the US, including in Washington state.

According to new poll results released Sunday, only 13% of the registered Washington state voters polled said the country's democracy is strong and resilient.

40% said the country's democracy is "holding firm but being threatened." 53% of those who agreed with that statement are Democrats and 52% voted for President Joe Biden. The statement also resonated with senior citizens, 57% of those polled that were considered senior citizens agreed with the statement.

39% of those polled said democracy is "weakening and may collapse," including a majority of Republicans, 56%, and those who said they voted for former President Donald Trump, 52%.

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Morgan Wack, a researcher with UW's Center for an Informed Public said the results are not surprising, especially the response from Democrats.

“I think people who see this democracy is holding firm are likely to side with the incumbent. They’re in power in the national government so they think, yes it’s under threat but currently, we're staving off some kind of other alternative,” said Wack. “January 6th for many people represented kind of a real visceral attempt at kind of threatening the government which we haven’t seen in a while. So, I think that made people read a lot of the threats that were otherwise maybe not had been seen as severe in the past.”

Wack also said he believes there are positive results from the poll.

“I think one of the keys to democracy is that it requires upkeep, and it requires acknowledgment from the public that you need to keep working towards a better democracy," said Wack.

Also released in Sunday's poll results, Washington state voters agree "more states should have vote-by-mail elections like in Washington and Oregon." Majorities of men and women, young and old, white and non-white, rich and poor, and college-educated and non-college-educated agree. Only 19% disagreed with the statement, and a majority of them described themselves as very conservative.

The WA Poll was commissioned by KING 5, The Seattle Times, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public and Washington State University’s Murrow College of Communication and was conducted by SurveyUSA. It surveyed 875 adults from Oct. 14-19, 2022. Of those adults, 719 were registered voters. The poll represented the demographics of Washington state with 46% from the metro Seattle area, 30% from western Washington and 24% from eastern Washington.

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