SEATTLE — If the November election happened now, more people would vote for incumbent Sen. Patty Murray over challenger Tiffany Smiley, according to WA Poll results released Thursday.
Of those who responded, 51% said they would vote for Murray, a Democrat, while 33% said they would vote for Smiley, a Republican. However, 16% said they were undecided.
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.
Both men and women said they would vote for Murray over Smiley, with 42% of males saying so and 60% of females. A total of 83% of Smiley supporters said they are Republicans while 87% of Murray supporters said they are Democrats.
"Well, obviously, it's a very commanding lead. But so much can change," said Gary Locke, former governor of Washington and KING 5 political analyst. "Patty Murray, I think has a very good lead, and you got to factor in also the independents. There are still people who are undecided, who will not make up their minds until close to the election."
Among voters who said abortion was their top issue this election, 72% support Murray. Murray also leads with the voters who say climate change and guns are the most important issues.
"Certainly the Democrats will focus on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. It was quite a shocking legal decision that wipes away 50 years of Supreme Court decisions by conservative and liberal judges," said Locke. "I think the people want to know that their candidate will try to provide some protections at the federal level, or certainly, funding for women to have that right to choose to seek abortion services if they so desire."
However, voters who say inflation, border security and crime all said they prefer Smiley, with 54% of voters focused on inflation backing her.
"This is about inflation," said Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary for President Bush. "So I think you're going to see Republicans focus on that in a big way that this is about the economy."
Murray is pursuing her sixth term as senator in a race that drew more than a dozen challengers.
Smiley, a veterans advocate and former nurse out of Pasco, has pulled in $4.2 million in contributions, while Murray holds a significant financial advantage at $11.6 million raised.
"There's a lot that can happen between now and November in terms of the economy, what's happening in terms of inflation and the prices of everyday goods and quite frankly, what happens internationally. Whether it's Ukraine, to trade with China, and of course, the results of the hearing about January 6," said Locke.
Washington state's primary election is on August 2 with the general election taking place on November 2.
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 825 adults from July 6-10, 2022. Of those adults, 731 were registered voters. The poll represented the demographics of Washington state with 47% from the metro Seattle area, 32% from western Washington and 21% from eastern Washington.
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