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Wire Insider: Stuart Elway

Longtime public opinion analyst and President of Elway Research, Inc, Stuart Elway returns as a “Wire Insider” to discuss how the 2020 elections are shaping up.

This interview was filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. It begs the question: will the context of a global pandemic have significant electoral implications at the statewide and local levels?

The big thing next year is going to be Donald Trump. He just seems to dominate everything. But, having gone through an impeachment it seems to have energized both sides. In one sense, for an “on” year in Washington – we’ve got our eight statewide officials up for re-election plus the Legislature is always up for grabs and it’s a presidential year – for all the turmoil, what’s shaping up now is a fairly quiet election for Washington State.”

In an email today, Elway followed up on his previous remarks given the new context in which the 2020 elections will occur:

The COVID pandemic obviously is having, and will have an unpredictable effect on society and politics. One of the things it is not possible to predict will be the state of things six months from now when we vote.

As I said last year, this election is going to be about Trump. That hasn’t changed, except it is more about Trump. Specifically, how voters rate his performance in this crisis. In this state, that does not bode well for Republicans.

To a similar, but lesser extent, the Governor’s race is also a referendum on the incumbent. The qualifier is that to date, none of the Republican candidates seem to have gained any traction with the electorate, and Inslee is getting very positive marks thus far in dealing with the pandemic.

As for down-ballot and local races, there is likely to be less impact, although it could be a significant issue in particular races.  Legislative candidates may try to make their races a proxy referendum on Inslee. It’s hard to see how the pandemic factors into the race for Secretary of State or State Auditor, for example.”

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