New Poll: Ferguson Sprints to the Lead in Governor’s Race


Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson leads all comers in the contest to become Washington’s next governor and has overtaken likely Republican rival ex-U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, according to a new statewide survey done for the Northwest Progressive Institute.

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, pegs Ferguson at 35 percent backing, with Reichert at 27 percent, MAGA Republican Semi Bird at 9 percent and State Sen. Mark Mullet trailing  the field at 4 percent. A quarter of the electorate are undecided or unaware.  In a one-on-one contest, Fergy leads Reichert by 46 percent to 42 percent.

The poll surveyed 789 likely voters and was conducted February 13 and 14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. It was conducted 42 percent by cell phone with 58 percent of respondents recruited by text message.

The AG’s office has been involved in high profile cases of late. Incumbent Ferguson has acted to block the merger of grocery giants Kroger and Albertson on grounds of loss of competition. The Attorney General has also reached a $149.5 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson over its role in producing and marketing of opioids.

“Ferguson started at 21 percent last March, improved to 25 percent in June of 2023, then to 31 percent in November of 2023, and now at 35 percent,” said Andrew Villeneuve, who heads Northwest Progressive Institute. Earlier, Ferguson trailed Reichert in the November survey.

The NPI polls have been on the mark. A late summer survey in 2022 showed Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp-Perez gaining on MAGA Republican Joe Kent in the 3rd Congressional District race in Southwest Washington. MGP won in the country’s biggest House upset. Another poll by PPP showed Sen. Patty Murray with a hefty lead over GOP challenger Tiffany Smiley, at a time when two Republican firms claimed Smiley was pulling even with the incumbent; Murray won handily.

Ferguson has run and won in three statewide races. Reichert served 14 years in Congress from the 8th Congressional District before retiring in 2018. The onetime King County Sheriff made no secret of his disdain for Donald Trump although voting for the Trump agenda 93 percent of the time.

Ferguson scored a succession of legal victories over the Trump administration, starting with a challenge to the first Muslim travel ban. Two of his fellow Democratic AGs, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania and Maura Healey in Massachusetts, were elected governor in 2022. North Carolina’s AG Josh Stein is also seeking to move up to governor this year.

The latest poll found Ferguson with a 39 percent favorable rating among those surveyed, with 35 percent holding an unfavorable rating of the attorney general. A quarter of those polled were unsure or didn’t know anything about Ferguson. With Reichert, the figures were 26 percent approval, 32 percent disapproval, with the remainder unsure or not knowing.

Washington is a “blue” state which hasn’t elected a Republican governor since 1980, but the last two open races for governor, in 2004 and 2012, have been extremely close. Christine Gregoire won in 2004 by a margin of 133 votes after multiple recounts.

Ferguson is a chess champion who has demonstrated strong early moves. He has raised $5.6 million and pulled in a succession of early endorsements, the latest from the Washington State Labor Council. He garnered an early endorsement from outgoing three-term Gov. Jay Inslee.

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.


  1. “Washington is a “blue” state which hasn’t elected a Republican governor since” 1983, when the state went to all mail-in ballots.

    This past week in Palestine, Ohio, President Biden said, “Let me be clear. While there are acts of God, this was an act of greed. That was 100% preventable. Let me say it again. An act of greed that was 100% preventable. We were pushing the railroads . . .” which exemplifies the same utter distrust and disdain for private sector entities as Attorney General Ferguson. Philosophically, both men are cut from the same bolt of cloth.

    Left to their own predilections, both men are happy to disparage, vilify, and hobble the engines of prosperity.

    Winston Churchill correctly observed, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

    • Do you think you can bring yourself to quit insulting our intelligence with this 19th Century crapola about “hobbling the engines of prosperity?” Both Biden and Ferguson are acting to curb the worst excesses of unfettered capitalism, which profit bad actors at the public’s expense. An entire community was contaminated in that train wreck. Are those responsible to escape all accountability? The Republican president Theodore Roosevelt acted in the same way, 120 years ago, and faced the same “hobbling the engines of prosperity” argument. Does “Pure Food and Drug Act” ring a bell? To make that argument at this point isn’t even “conservative.” It’s just plain reactionary.

      Besides that, Washington didn’t adopt all-mail balloting statewide until 2011, not 1983 as you have it. Please try at least to get basic verifiable facts straight.

  2. Of course Joel Connelly is a writer for Liberal Seattle Post Intelligencer. What else would you expect? Notice that Ferguson filled over 80 lawsuits against Trump but never filed charges against anyone over CHOP or against the Black Lives Matters or 2016 Riots?????!

    • That’s because those matters were handled locally/weren’t in his jurisdiction. Oh, and he won the overwhelming majority of cases that actually fell into his bailiwick that he chose to pursue.

      Butthurt much?

    • Semi Bird is a Covid denying nutjob who was too much for even the right-leaning Tri-Cities folks who bounced him out of office.

      I’m no Reichert fan, but at least he’s a serious and experienced candidate.

  3. Another thoughtful article, Joel. Thank you. Doubtful that Ferguson would have any jurisdiction over the CHOP or BLM violence. I/we were among those who got a surprise $120 check from Bob Ferguson’s Office for the canned tuna settlement. He may be called ‘Bandstand Bob’ for his high-profile filings, but he is persistent and mostly effective on all sides, from Trump antics to cheating companies — as we channeled the $120 right back in support of the economy in a downtown night spot.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments Policy

Please be respectful. No personal attacks. Your comment should add something to the topic discussion or it will not be published. All comments are reviewed before being published. Comments are the opinions of their contributors and not those of Post alley or its editors.