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Wire Poll: Democrat holds significant lead in the 45th Senate race

According to the latest Wire Poll, Democratic candidate Manka Dhingra holds a 51% – 39% lead over her Republican opponent Jinyoung Englund in the 45th LD Senate race.

This result is in-line with other polling information made public at the Wire, showing Dhingra with a 51%-41% lead. The August primary results also showed a similar level of support:  52%-42%.

You can review the full topline report and select cross-tabs here.

It appears that despite $2.4 million dollars having been raised and spent in this race, a record for legislative races in Washington State, those expenditures have not appeared to fundamentally shift the race in the direction of either candidate.

Further findings from the survey are as follows.

  • It is not surprising that the Democratic Party has higher favorable/unfavorable numbers (42%-41%) than the Republican Party (24%-58%) in a district that Hillary Clinton won handily. It is also not a surprise that President Trump is viewed unfavorably (30% to 64%).  However, it is noteworthy that President Trump has higher favorability marks than the Republican Party in general in a district that has sent Republicans to the legislature in most of the legislative elections of the past 20 years.  This is may be a bad omen for Republican candidates in future elections in the Puget Sound region if Republican candidates don’t otherwise develop a direct connection with the voters that supersedes the Republican brand.

  • Opinions about President Trump align strongly with polarized support for either candidate. Republican Englund wins support from 92% of respondents that “strongly approve” of Pres. Trump and 86% of those that “somewhat approve” of President Trump.  Englund even wins 76% of those “neutral” in their opinion of Trump. However, given the very large cohort of respondents with a “strongly disapprove” view of Pres. Trump, that Democrat Dhingra wins 83% of that cohort is the strongest differentiator of her support.  Of those respondents that only “somewhat disapprove” of President Trump, the race is much closer but still in Dhingra’s favor:  43%-37%.
  • It appears difficult to have a “neutral” opinion of President Trump and still have favorable views of the Democratic Party and Democrat Dhingra. Only 8% of voters with a neutral view of Trump support Dhingra and 0% of respondents with a neutral view of Trump have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party. These are statistically difficult numbers to reach. One hypothesis could be that these voters are really Republican voters that are disaffected by Trump, and less supportive of him than past Republican presidents.  Of this cohort, 48% view the Republican Party favorably while 20% view it unfavorably.  If this represents a “softening” of the Republican base in a swing district, and if that is not unique to the 45th, then that could be problematic for Republicans heading into 2018.