UW News

November 8, 2007

Washington Poll shows Gregoire slightly ahead in governor race

A University of Washington poll shows Gov. Christine Gregoire slightly ahead of Republican challenger Dino Rossi in the 2008 gubernatorial race.

The second annual Washington Poll indicated 47 percent for Gregoire, a Democrat; 42 percent for Rossi; 2 percent for Ruth Bennett, a Libertarian; 1 percent for “other”; and 7 percent undecided.

As in 2004, the race is divided by region, with Puget Sound voters supporting Gregoire 50 percent to 38 percent. Voters east of the Cascades supported Rossi 52 percent to 36 percent. Political independents were evenly split — 43 percent for Gregoire, 41 percent for Rossi — and 10 percent were undecided.

As a nonpartisan, academic survey sponsored by the UW Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Sexuality, the poll conducted telephone interviews of 600 registered voters Oct. 22-29. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percentage points. (Percentages may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.)

“With a year before the election, there’s lots of time for the campaigns to unfold, so instead of trying to predict the outcome, the poll is more a measuring stick,” said Matt Barreto, a UW political scientist who co-directed the poll.

In the state election earlier this week, the Washington Poll correctly predicted five out of six races. The poll accurately showed that voters would pass Initiative 960 (state tax levies), Initiative 25 (election auditor), Referendum 67 (health insurance rules), Constitutional Amendment 8206 (state rainy-day fund) and defeat Proposition 1 (regional transportation). The poll incorrectly predicted Constitutional Amendment 4204 (school tax levies) would pass. The measure, which would allow a simple majority rather than a supermajority to approve school tax levies, was defeated 52 percent to 48 percent.

In 2006, the Washington Poll correctly predicted five races out of five: Maria Cantwell winning over Mike McGavick, Susan Owens winning over Stephen Johnson, Initiative 920 losing, Initiative 933 losing and Initiative 938 winning.

Gary Segura, a UW professor of political science, co-directed the poll with Barreto. Other collaborators include John Gastil and Patricia Moy, UW professors of communication; Christopher Parker and Bethany Albertson, UW professors of political science; and Todd Donovan, professor of political science at Western Washington University.

Pacific Market Research, located in Renton, administered the poll for the institute. It cost $25,000, paid by research funds from the universities involved.

Additional findings are at www.washingtonpoll.org.

A complete copy of the survey, also at the Web site, includes methodology, percentages of voters who might change their minds before the election and results according to political affiliation.

Survey results on the U.S. presidential race will be released in coming days.