First Big Poll on Washington’s 2024 Governor’s Race


The first credible poll on Washington’s 2024 governor’s race, anticipating that three-term Gov. Jay Inslee will bow out, identifies as clear front runners Republican Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier and Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The survey of 874 likely voters was taken for the Northwest Progressive Institute and done by Public Policy Polling, which accurately pegged Sen. Patty Murray’s big reelection margin last year, and showed Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez in striking distance of an upset win in Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.

The latest poll tested four gubernatorial prospects — the GOP’s Dammeier and three Democrats. Two of the Dems, AG Ferguson and State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, launched campaigns for Governor during Inslee’s short-lived run for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination.

The figures: Dammeier was the choice of 35 percent of those surveyed. Ferguson was picked by 21 percent, with Franz and King County Executive Dow Constantine trailing, each with 7 percent.  A whopping 30 percent of those surveyed were not sure.

A modest surprise in this “blue” state is that Dammeier’s support equals backing for all three Democrats combined.  The state has elected five consecutive Democratic governors in the past 39 years.  Our last Republican governor, John Spellman, was defeated by a Democratic Pierce County Executive, Booth Gardner, in 1984.

“Dammeier’s percentage is what we’d expect to see given that he is the only Republican candidate mentioned in the question,” Andrew Villeneuve, head of Northwest Progressive Institute, said in releasing the poll.

The state’s Republicans have found themselves stuck in a rut of late.  They’ve received a vote percentage in the low 40s — not just in Loren Culp’s longshot 2020 challenge to Inslee, but in Tiffany Smiley’s $20-million challenge to Sen. Murray.  King County has delivered vote margins as high as 400,000 votes to Democrats at the top of the ticket.

Dammeier was a capable state senator and wrested the Pierce County Executive job from the Democrats in 2016, a presidential year.  While experiencing the same problems of homelessness and crime that dog King County, Pierce County has gained a reputation for somewhat quicker response and stiffer law enforcement.

Ferguson has the pole position among the Democrats.  The AG repeatedly challenged and beat the Trump Administration in court, starting with the Muslim travel ban and extending to Trump’s attempts to roll back environmental and consumer protection.  Ferguson has taken on high profile targets with notable success, such as shaking more money out of corporate architects of the opioid epidemic.  He is an aggressive defender of abortion rights, and a longtime advocate of a ban on military-style assault rifles.

The AG has staged big, recent show-of-strength fundraisers in both Seattle and Tacoma.  Analyzing results of the PPP poll, however, Villeneuve notes:  “Franz and Constantine are tied in the single digits, while Ferguson has three times as much support as either, but still is under one quarter support overall.”

The poll’s message may be that there is a “lane” for another Democrat to take on the Attorney General.  Franz has been out front and all over the state, urging greater resources and proactive response to a warming climate and an expanding fire season.

Elected in 2009, Constantine has headed a stable county government during periods of turmoil across the street at Seattle City Hall.  The Emerald City has seen a succession of one-term mayors.  Still, four-termer Constantine has been overshadowed.  In town to tout his latest book, ex-President Jimmy Carter did a cameo appearance at Constantine’s annual fundraising lunch, only to sing the praises of Bob Ferguson.

Two Republican-linked polling firms, Trafalgar and Moore Information, stumbled in last year’s election, breathlessly reporting that the GOP’s Tiffany Smiley was moving to within striking range of Sen. Murray, only to have Murray win by a 15-point margin.

By contrast, PPP showed Murray with a steady, double-digit lead.  It also forecast accurately that Democrats were in firm control of the Washington Legislature.  A bevy of high-profile challengers, recruited by the Republicans, went down to defeat.  Gluesenkamp-Perez scored the biggest congressional upset in the country.

The poll for Northwest Progressive Institute was in the field March 7 and 8.  Its automated survey was divided equally between land lines and cell phones.  It has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.3 percent.  PPP is a pollster with Democratic roots, but made its mark with surveys that accurately predicted big losses for the party in the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections.

Gov. Inslee, now in his third term, has not stated his intentions but continues to raise money and send out hyperbole-filled email fundraising blasts.

Joel Connelly
Joel Connelly
I worked for Seattle Post-Intelligencer from 1973 until it ceased print publication in 2009, and from 2009 to 6/30/2020. During that time, I wrote about 9 presidential races, 11 Canadian and British Columbia elections‎, four doomed WPPSS nuclear plants, six Washington wilderness battles, creation of two national Monuments (Hanford Reach and San Juan Islands), a 104 million acre Alaska Lands Act, plus the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.


    • You don’t know how polling works, do you? 874 is actually a decent size sample. Some other polls will sample as few as 400, although their margin of error will be much higher than this has.

  1. Bob Ferguson has all the qualities for being a solid, no non-sense Governor. He has proven credentials as an administrator, listens intently and has a record of accomplishments.

  2. Time for eastern Washington to be a separate state. The Eastern side never gets fair representation. We are tired of the taxes

    • Linda, Take a deep breath, let’s look at what Eastern Washington receives in State Tax money and what you pay. Here’s some figures. A few years old but reflective of state:
      King County. $0.62 back for every dollar paid.
      Chelan gets $1.03
      Stevens gets $2,23 back
      Spokane gets $ 1.35 back
      Ferry gets $3.16.
      Snohomish gets $0.99
      Skagit gets $0.85.


      Go ahead and separate you will be paying a lot more in taxes.

      Merge with Idaho and pay state Income Tax and Sales Tax

      Basically the Red Countries are not paying their share.

      Have a great Sunny day. BTW MY FAMILY homesteaded in Eastern Washington when Chief Joseph was still around. And I own land in Pend Orielle County which receives $1.97 back for each $1. I live in Island County a (Purple County) it receives $1.10 back.

    • Western Washington could cut off Eastern Washington and we would really enjoy not sending so many of OUR tax dollars over to prop up your counties. A report like this comes out every few years that shows which counties pay out more than they receive, and which counties get a lot more than they pay in taxes. For those who prefer to attack blue states instead of blue counties, the same holds true: red states are “welfare queens” and blue states are “sugar daddies”.

  3. We have a case of misinformation in last reader response. The gubernatorial poll sampled opinion in all regions of the state including Eastern and Central Washington. Both PPP and Crosscut/Elway surveys make a point of fully covering the state’s political cultures.

  4. No to Dammeier…….corrupt politicians should not be rewarded by continuing to be elected! I will vote and help organize against him……not in the people’s best interest!

  5. Ferguson is a little Inslee in my opinion. He will actually bring the state further down with his inability to hold people accountable for their crimes and criminalizing free speech that he does not like as hate speech, or make legal and responsible gun owners criminals while letting criminals who do not care about gun laws walk free. I personally believe that we need to turn at least one branch, Senate, House or Governor red so that we can have good politics favorable to all the people again. Only this way can we really have bipartisan decisions good for all.

  6. First off, Ferguson represents the far left liberal, progressive, woke mob. He lets out dangerous prisoners, only stands for the left and is not open minded toward the logical moderates. He is a big part of Washingtons blind and illogical group. Murray has never voted outside the Democratic side. Does that sound like a representative of US THE PEOPLE? The left can not be right 100% of the time. It is time for change.

  7. I hope that Mr. Inslee doesn’t go the governor-for-life route, state-sponsored paternalism only sells to a point. Moreover, one-party-rule has a sort of inbredness that is not healthy in the long run. It’s time for a change, for a change.

  8. This sentence alone might explain why:
    “…His reelection campaign raised just $3 in February, according to the latest filings with the state Public Disclosure Commission, with the money coming in from a single West Seattle donor.”

    • I long thought Dow had the best shot at getting elected the next governor. He had managerial experience and excellence. He’s if from Seattle but not tarnished by Seattle extremism. He’s well connected with business leaders. I remember being at a talk Dow gave to business leaders, after which Dan Evans said, “You’re my kind of a Democrat,” to which the witty Constantine quickly replied to Evans: “You’re my kind of Republican!” That said, Dow is not a risk-taker and I think the county exec job tired him out.

  9. Bob Ferguson finished first in a progressive poll? Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor. Ferguson might be a good governor, I’m not prejudging, but his patently obvious gubernatorial campaign strategy has been part of every public event the attorney general has scheduled in his current term.

    Meanwhile, Dow has chugged along in his non-flashy manner, trying to fix no-win problems in a large and fractious county. Politics can be cruel, timing is everything, (ask Barack Obama), and new faces are often rewarded. Governor Franz? That sounds interesting.

    Dow’s dream of Olympia has died. A pity. He had the credentials and experience to do the job. He’s an able, squeaky-clean public servant, a victim of staying too long for the public’s taste, laboring on a next-to-impossible municipal agenda. Dow’s diligence has been King County’s good fortune. Round of applause.

    • Dow is decidedly not “squeaky clean”. You don’t have to dig very far to find all kinds of vices. It’s just that too many local media types (looking up at you, Mr. Brewster) seem willing to give him a pass on behavior that had gotten another county executive tossed out on his butt, on behavior that has gotten numerous legislators into forced retirement, and certainly gotten Republicans blistered for similar behavioral flaws. Dow likely realizes that he would not have the free run he’s enjoyed.


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