OLYMPIA -- Voters tend to give Gov. Jay Inslee a passing grade, although when asked about his job performance, 55 percent rate it as "only fair or poor." Only 30 percent of voters contacted for a recent survey by The Elway Poll say they'd definitely vote to re-elect him in 2016.
But the news for the GOP isn't so good either. Only 25 percent said they're inclined right now to vote for a Republican for governor in 2016. Some 17 percent want another Democratic choice, and 28 percent are undecided.
Pollster H. Stuart Elway said there hasn't been a big drop in Inslee's approval rating, but rather "a gradual drifting downwards."
Asked to give the governor a letter grade like students get in school, 5 percent gave him an A, 31 percent a B and 35 percent a C. So by that measure he got passing grades from 71 percent of those polled, although 18 percent gave him a D and 9 percent an F.
When pollsters asked a slightly different question, whether a voter would rate his job performance as excellent, good, only fair or poor, 41 percent said excellent or good, compared to 55 percent who said fair or poor. That's virtually identical to the results of a poll in January, and not much different from a poll after his first six months in office, when 40 percent rated him excellent or good and 49 percent fair or poor.
Inslee faces a re-election next year, and Elway said his ratings aren't fatal. "But they are certainly not good and are heading in the wrong direction for him."
They are lower than his predecessor Chris Gregoire in the third summer of her first term, Elway said. Gregoire had 52 percent of respondents rating her as excellent or good and 47 rating her fair or poor in an August 2007 Elway poll.
Of concern for Inslee, as far as his re-election campaign goes, are the results of some subgroupings in the poll: Only 17 percent of independents said at this point they are inclined to vote for him in 2016, and 26 percent of Democrats said they would be inclined to vote for "a different Democrat".
There is no Democratic challenger on the horizon, Elway noted, so those disaffected Democrats would likely either go for Inslee or not vote. No Democrat in the survey said they'd be likely to vote for a Republican. About 20 percent of independents said they're inclined at this point to vote for a Republican, while 17 percent said they'd be inclined to vote for Inslee.
The survey contacted 502 registered voters selected at random and divided proportionately in six regions around the state between July 21 and July 23. It has a margin of error of 4.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.