UW News

October 27, 2009

New UW poll shows voters in favor of Referendum 71 but undecided about other issues

Referendum 71, the all-but-marriage measure which is on the November ballot, is likely to meet voters’ approval, according to the latest Washington Poll. But the poll also indicates that a good many voters haven’t made up their minds regarding the Seattle mayoral race, the King County executive race or Initiative 1033.

The referendum, which asks voters to approve or reject expansion of rights granted to domestic partners, was favored by 57 percent of registered voters, while 38 percent said they intend to vote against it; 5 percent were undecided.

“This indicates far-reaching support for same-sex domestic partnerships, and the finding is consistent with our three previous years of polling data,” said Matt Barreto, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Washington who leads the poll. “Referendum 71 appears headed for a large victory in Washington state.” In September, Barreto analyzed data from 2006 through 2008, showing widespread, increasing support for same-sex domestic partnerships. Referendum 71 also includes heterosexual couples over the age of 62.

Eight states — Washington, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Wisconsin — as well as the District of Columbia, recognize some form of civil union or domestic partnership for same-sex couples.

The poll showed that 40 percent of registered voters intended to approve Initiative 1033 while 49 percent intended to vote against it; 10 percent were undecided. As listed on the Nov. 3 ballot, I-1033 “would limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases. Revenue collected above the limit would reduce property tax levies.”

In the Seattle mayoral race, 44 percent of registered voters said they’re going to vote for Joe Mallahan while 36 percent said they’re voting for Michael McGinn; 19 percent were undecided.

In the King County executive race, 47 percent of those polled said they plan to vote for Dow Constantine, whereas 34 percent planned to vote for Susan Hutchinson; 19 percent were undecided.

Barreto said that in the mayoral and county executive races, the number of undecided voters remains very large. “Many voters may wait until the very end to make up their minds,” he said.

Poll takers telephoned 724 registered voters around the state Oct. 14-26. This latest poll is fifth in a semiannual survey conducted by the Washington Poll.

In 2008, poll results reflected the outcome of all three ballot initiatives. In 2007, when there were six initiatives, the Washington Poll conducted surveys on four and correctly predicted the outcomes.

Funds for the survey came from research budgets at the UW. The poll sampling error margin is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Additional Washington Poll data is at http://www.washingtonpoll.org/  


For more information, contact Barreto at 909-489-2955 or 206-616-3584 or mbarreto@uw.edu