Poll numbers released Wednesday show discontent with Gov. Jay Inslee’s leadership of the Legislature. But he still gets a better grade than state lawmakers, and there’s bad news in there for Republicans running for governor.
OLYMPIA — Just 30 percent of those surveyed in a new Elway Poll said they would re-elect Gov. Jay Inslee in 2016.
Although the numbers, released Wednesday, show discontent over Inslee’s performance, the governor received a better grade than lawmakers.
The poll found that 41 percent of those surveyed said the governor’s job performance was “good” or “excellent.” That‘s a decline from 45 percent in January 2014 and from 42 percent this January, according to the poll.
Seven of 10 voters surveyed gave Inslee a “satisfactory” or C grade, according to the poll. In a separate Elway Poll released Monday, voters gave the Legislature a “D-plus” for its work in this year’s marathon series of sessions.
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In the poll released Wednesday, 26 percent of Democrats surveyed said they were inclined to vote for a Democrat other than Inslee for governor.
“The task for Inslee, then, is to shore up his support among Democrats and to win over a sufficient number of Independents,” wrote pollster Stuart Elway. “Needing to win Independents is nothing new. The extent he needs to backfill his own party is unusual.”
That said, “not a single Democrat in this survey said they would vote for a Republican for governor,” according to the poll. And only 25 percent of all those surveyed said they would vote for a Republican for governor.
Elway added, “These numbers even are more daunting for a Republican than they are for Inslee.”
Jamal Raad, communications director for the Washington state Democratic Party, focused on that number.
“Only a quarter of Washington voters say they will vote for a Republican for governor,” Raad wrote in an email. “To win, they would need to convert nearly every undecided voter, a virtually insurmountable task.”
But Susan Hutchison, chairwoman of the Washington State Republican Party, said the poll included good news for the GOP.
“At this early stage, a generic Republican gets 25 percent of those polled, while Inslee only gets 30 percent — and this in a poll with a 4.5 percent margin of error!” Hutchison wrote in a statement. “The nameless, faceless Republican is practically tied with Inslee!”
The poll comes just a day after Inslee announced he would bypass state lawmakers to enact a cap on carbon emissions in Washington state by executive authority.
David Postman, communications director for Inslee, did not return a call seeking comment.
While voters gave Inslee an improved score in representing the state to the country and the world, they gave lower marks for his work with state lawmakers.
Slightly more than a third of those surveyed gave Inslee a “good” or “excellent” grade for “providing leadership to the Legislature.”
Meanwhile, 60 percent of voters gave Inslee a “fair” or “poor” mark in that category, up from 56 percent in January 2015 and 50 percent in July 2014.
Those surveyed gave Inslee similar marks in another category: how he managed state government.
In May, Port of Seattle Commissioner and Republican Bill Bryant declared his candidacy to challenge Inslee next year.
Other Republicans talked about as possible candidates for governor include state Sens. Steve Litzow of Mercer Island and Andy Hill of Redmond, and U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn.
The poll released Wednesday included 502 registered voters and was conducted July 21-23. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.