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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 19, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 42
Approve R-74 up by six points
Section One
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Approve R-74 up by six points

Result of prestigious Washington Poll gives real reason for optimism

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Referendum 74 is now leading by 6.3 points, the prestigious Washington Poll says.

The Washington Poll is a widely respected electoral survey directed by UW Associate Professor Matt Barreto. It is conducted only once a year, and because its findings have historically correlated very strongly with actual election results, it is considered extremely credible.

In numbers released October 18, the poll found 52.9% of respondents ready to Approve R-74, with 46.6% saying they would reject it.

The 2012 Washington Poll began sampling on October 1 and ended October 16. The samples included 782 registered voters and 644 likely voters. Margins of error for these samples are 3.5% and 3.9%, respectively.

'These results suggest that Referendum 74 is on track to be approved in a few weeks,' a post on the Northwest Progressive Institute blog said.

'The divisive Reject campaign is kicking into high gear, but they have a tough hill to climb. Support for marriage equality has been steadily building over the years, driven by young people, who are clearly shifting public opinion in a healthy, progressive direction.'

TAKES LYING INTO ACCOUNT
Barreto used an innovative technique in weighting the raw data to correct for what polltakers call 'social desirability bias.'

'Ballot initiatives on marriage equality tend to over-report the margin of victory for those campaigns,' NPI notes, because respondents are aware of what answer is 'socially desirable.'

To rectify this, the polling team included two questions designed to measure social desirability bias. They first asked respondents if they had lied on the survey, and then asked if any of the questions had made them uncomfortable.

'Both groups of people in the Yes on 74 and the No on 74 camp reported lying at rates that did not differ from the sample average,' the pollsters reported.

They then subtracted Approve voters who reported being uncomfortable with discussing sexual orientation, and adjusted the Reject numbers to include undecideds who admitted to lying.

'This resulted in a point estimate of 52.9 to 46.6 - a 6.3-point difference,' the pollsters concluded.

CONSISTENT WITH EARLIER POLLS
The crosstabs show results that match previous polling by other organizations.

Voters in Western Washington are far more supportive of marriage equality than voters who live to the east. A plurality of voters in every age group support marriage equality, but young voters and boomers approaching retirement are more enthusiastic than seniors and younger middle-age voters.

In the 18-29 age group, 68.2% of respondents said they would Approve R-74, compared to only 26.1% who would reject it. Among those aged 30 to 44, the numbers were 50.2% Approve, 39.1% reject. In the 44-65 age bracket, 59.1% said they would Approve and only 34.3% would reject R-74. The most senior age group, those 66 and over, divided roughly along the same lines as the 30-44 group.

INSLEE HOLDS NARROW LEAD
In other poll results, President Obama is well ahead of challenger Mitt Romney in Washington, with 51.8% of registered voters saying they are certain or planning to vote for Obama, and only 41.3% are certain or planning to vote for Romney. The numbers are not so different for the sample of likely voters - 51.9% Obama, 42.9% Romney.

The governor's race is much closer. Jay Inslee has a narrow lead, one that is within the margin of error. Among registered voters, Inslee leads 47.9% to 44.7%. Among likely voters, Inslee leads 48.3% to 45.1%.

The U.S. Senate race looks like it will be a blowout for Maria Cantwell, with 58.3% certain or leaning towards her. Michael Baumgartner's share of the vote is only 34.8%. Among likely voters, Cantwell's share drops to 57.7% and Baumgartner's increases to 35.4%.

I-502, the initiative to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, has a respectable lead among registered voters, with 50.9% total yes, compared to 40.8% total no, but the measure's overall lead among likely voters is not as impressive, with 47.1% total yes to 40.1% total no.

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Approve R-74 up by six points
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