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WA Poll: Jobs top issue, state on wrong track

More voters think Washington is "seriously on on the wrong" track than going in the right direction, a new survey by University of Washington researchers says.

More than half approve of the job President Obama is doing, and slightly les -- 51 percent -- approve of Sen. Patty Murray's job performance. But less than one in three give Congress good marks for the work its doing.

Less than half say they're planning to vote to re-elect Murray in November, and two out of five would either vote for Dino Rossi or any Republican candidate runnign against her.

The Washington Poll, which was released today, has more voters giving Gov. Chris Gregoire  bad marks than good marks for her job performance. While her overall numbers are relatively close -- 44 percent say they approve compared to 47 percent who say they disapprove -- those who feel strongly about it are much more likely to say they disapprove. Nearly a third, 30 percent, say they strongly disapprove compared to 17 percent who say they strongly approve.

Gregoire's numbers look good compared to the Legislature. Only about one in three approved of the job the Legislature is doing, while 43 percent disapproved.

Attorney General Rob McKenna fared better than Gregoire or the Lege, with 41 percent saying they approve of the job he's doing and 23 percent disapproving. But more than a third (37 percent, say they have no opinion or have never heard of him; less than one in 10 had no opinion of Gregoire.

Democrats currently have a slight edge in upcoming legislative races, the poll suggests, but nearly one in five voters polled was undecided when asked if they planned to vote for a Democrat or Republican candidate for the Legislature this fall.

The poll flagged something that could help Republicans and pose a problem for Democrats in the legislative elections: 60 percent said they support a two-thirds majority vote for the Legislature to raise taxes. The state had such a law, enacted by voters, until this year when Democrats in the Legislature voted to suspend it.

More than half the voters surveyed said they would for an initiative to institute a state income tax on those making more than $200,000 and another initiative to end the state ownership of liquor stores. Both proposals are among ballot measuers in the signature-gathering phase.

Voters surveyed were about evenly split on the new taxes the Legislature approved to support the budget, on the  health care reform approved by Congress, and on McKenna's decision to sue the federal government to block some aspects of that reform from taking effect.

There was strong support for repealing the state's civil and criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, something the Legislature considered briefly but didn't pass.

The poll showed increasing support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, and allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country and becoming citizens "but only if they meet certain requirements like working and paying back taxes over a period of time.

Want more poll results? Click here to see the full Washington Poll Issues and Opinions May 2010.


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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.