New poll has Reichert leading Ferguson in race to succeed Inslee in Washington

Washington has not had a Republican governor since John Spellman left office in 1985.

Only time will tell – about seven months from now – if a recent Echelon Insights poll that has GOP gubernatorial candidate Dave Reichert up nine points over Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a head-to-head matchup will translate at the ballot box.

This November, Evergreen State voters will decide everything from three-term Gov. Jay Inslee’s successor to three initiatives that call for repealing the state’s Climate Commitment Act, capital gains tax, and letting people opt out of the state’s long-term care program.

Alexandria, Virginia-based pollster Echelon Insights, on behalf of Concerned Taxpayers of Washington state, conducted the survey of 600 registered voters in the state “aged 18 or older.” They were interviewed “from March 18-21, 2024, using a mix of live telephone calls (30% landline) and text to online (70%), matched to the L2 Washington voter file.”

According to the polls methodology statement, “The sample was weighted to reflect population benchmarks for November 2024 registered voters for gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, region, party, turnout probability, and 2020 vote. The margin of error for a random sample of 600 voters is ± 4.7%.”

Previous polls have shown a close race.

The poll found that Reichert, the former King County Sheriff best known for his two-decade pursuit of “Green River Killer” Gary Ridgway, came out ahead of Ferguson, 39% to 30%, on a two-way ballot. Other gubernatorial contenders include Republican Semi Bird and Democratic state Sen. Mark Mullet.

Washington has not had a Republican governor since John Spellman left office in 1985.

In another closely watched race, Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell polled ahead of GOP challenger Raul Garcia by a 44%-36% margin.

Overall, poll respondents favored all three initiatives.

Initiative 2117 to repeal the CCA and do away with the state’s cap-and-trade program was favored by 53% of voters, while 29% were opposed, and 18% were unsure.

Initiative 2019 to repeal the state’s 7% tax on capital gains was supported by a margin of 43% to 38%.

Initiative 2124 would make the WA Cares program and its payroll tax of 58 cents for every $100 earned by worker optional. Per the poll, 65% of voters favored I-2124, compared to 21% who were against it, and 14% who weren’t sure.

A bill passed by the Legislature this session – and signed into law by Inslee – to hasten Puget Sound Energy’s transition away from natural gas to renewable energy sources was not popular with poll respondents.

According to the poll, 78% of Washington voters believe homeowners should have the choice to continue receiving natural gas, while 11% believe they should not, and 11% are unsure.

As for the overall political landscape of Washington, the generic Legislature ballot saw Republicans slightly ahead of Democrats, 42% to 40%. A majority of voters – 53% – said they felt the state is on the wrong track, while 32% indicated the state is on the right track.

Washington’s primary election is Aug. 6. The general election is Nov. 5.