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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 44
Election 2104: Background checks, smaller classes likely winners, new poll says
Section One
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Election 2104: Background checks, smaller classes likely winners, new poll says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

I-594, requiring background checks for all transfers of firearms, and I-1351, mandating smaller primary school classes, are both likely to win, according to a KCTS-9/Washington Poll released October 30.

I-591, which competes with I-594, faces an uncertain future.

I-594 requires even gun show dealers and private sellers to do background checks on potential gun buyers, hoping to close the so-called 'gun show loophole' that allows some buyers to avoid checks.

I-591, on the other hand, ties Washington state gun laws to a 'national standard,' effectively ruling out any tightening of state controls.

According to the new poll numbers, 61.1% of respondents say they will vote for I-594, and 52% are 'certain' they will vote Yes. Only 27.9% say they will vote No. Yes votes are heavily concentrated in the Puget Sound region, but the measure leads even in Eastern Washington, although by a smaller margin.

I-591 shows only a 41.7% Yes vote, against a 38.8% No vote and 17.1% Undecided. The poll shows more Undecideds leaning No than Yes.

Since the initiatives are contradictory, voters need to choose between tighter gun controls and no change. If both win, there will almost certainly be litigation to determine which should go into effect - if either.

I-1351 is also a likely winner, with 56.3% of poll respondents saying they will vote Yes, 48.7% saying they are 'certain' to do so. The measure has slightly more support in Eastern Washington than in the Puget Sound region, but leads in all regions of the state.

Probably because these issues are on the ballot, when poll participants were asked to name the 'general issue' that was most important to them, the largest numbers chose 'education reform/education funding' (23.7%) and 'gun laws' (21%). 'Fixing the economy/recession' came third with 12.3%.

More than 84% of the respondents said they 'don't know' what issues are important.

While 48.6% of respondents say the state is 'going in the right direction,' and only 36.3% said Washington is 'seriously on the wrong track,' Washingtonians are skeptical of their state government, the poll shows.

Some 38.4% said they had a favorable impression of the state legislature, while 38.8% had an unfavorable view. Favorables were higher in Western Washington than in the eastern part of the state.

The state legislature still ranks higher in people's estimation than Congress does. Only 22.5% of poll respondents had a favorable view of the U.S. Congress, while 67% had an unfavorable opinion. These views were shared relatively evenly in all regions of the state.

According to the poll, Washington remains a 'Red' state, with 48.4% saying they prefer a generic Democrat for Congress, and only 40.5% picking a Republican.

The Puget Sound region was decisively pro-Democrat, while other parts of the state opted for Republicans. That suggests there will be no changes to the state's Congressional delegation, since all incumbent Democrats represent Puget Sound districts and incumbent Republicans hail from the rest of the state.

One-third (33.3%) of respondents self-identified as Democrats, with 23.3% identifying as Republican, and 36.6% as 'independent/other.' Independents tilt slightly toward the Republican side, with 37.3% saying they lean Republican and 34.8% leaning Democratic.

Of those who identified with a party, 62.9% said they identified 'strongly,' while 35.3% said they did not strongly associate with their party.

Democrats are trusted more 'to make the right decisions to improve economic conditions in Washington state.' Just under 41% said they trusted Democrats to do so, while only 35.2% named Republicans.

Almost 32% of respondents said they were on the liberal end of the political spectrum, with those people concentrated in the Puget Sound region. More than 30% said they were conservative. Almost 17% said they trusted neither party. Democrats held a 15-point lead in the Puget Sound Region, while Republicans led in other areas of the state.

Although they are not on this year's ballot, Governor Jay Inslee and U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell enjoy general approval.

Some 53.8% have a favorable view of Inslee, with only 28.9% holding an unfavorable view of the governor. Inslee is well-liked throughout the state, with somewhat higher favorables in Western Washington than in the east.

Senator Patty Murray has a 53.8% favorable rating and 34.6% unfavorable, and Senator Maria Cantwell enjoys 56.4% favorables against 29.7% unfavorables. Murray tends to have higher 'very favorable' ratings than Cantwell, even though her overall favorable total is a little less than her colleague's. Both are more popular in Western Washington than east of the mountains.

Among other issues polled, marriage equality continues to get wide approval. Two years after Washington voters approved Referendum 74, a whopping 71.4% of those polled say Gay and Lesbian couples should have a right to marry. Only 23.8% disagree.

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