President Bill Clinton appears headed for victory in Washington state, while Republican Bob Dole could coast to a win in Idaho, a pair of statewide polls show.
Texas billionaire Ross Perot, the Reform Party nominee, is foundering in both states, according to the polls by Political/Media Research Inc.
“Both states are a lock - Washington for Clinton and Idaho for Dole,” predicted Del Ali, an analyst for the polling firm.
“There’s no reason for Dole to go to Idaho” because he’s so far ahead, Ali said. “The only reason for Clinton to go to Washington is to campaign for other candidates for governor and Congress.”
Clinton has scheduled a campaign stop in Seattle on Wednesday, the day after the state primary.
The Washington poll was sponsored by The Spokesman-Review, KHQ-TV in Spokane and KING-TV in Seattle. The Idaho poll was sponsored by the two Spokane news organizations and KTVB in Boise.
Clinton garnered support from 49 percent of the voters in Washington compared to 37 percent for Dole.
Dole had 54 percent of the vote in Idaho compared to 32 percent for Clinton.
The Republican nominee appears such a prohibitive favorite in Idaho that it may hurt the turnout of some Republicans, Ali suggested.
“Dole is going to win big, and some of them might stay home.”
Voters in the two states have vastly different opinions of the president and the former Senate majority leader.
Half of all Washington voters in the survey had a favorable opinion of Clinton, a number that has been climbing since the spring of 1994. Half also said they thought he was doing an excellent or good job. Only about one in three said they had an unfavorable opinion of him.
Half the voters polled in Idaho had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton - that number has been falling since early 1994 - and only 29 percent said they thought he was doing an excellent or good job.
For Dole, the Idaho numbers were reversed. Half of Idaho voters had a favorable opinion of him, while only a third had an unfavorable opinion.
In Washington, voters were about evenly split between whether they had favorable, unfavorable and neutral opinions of the former Kansas senator.
Republican vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp elicits favorable responses from voters in both states.
But Vice President Al Gore is viewed differently by the two states’ voters: 42 percent of the voters in Washington have a favorable opinion of him; 41 percent of the Idaho voters have an unfavorable opinion.
“Al Gore is an environmentalist, and in some places in Idaho, if you’re an environmentalist, you’re looked upon as a demon,” Ali said.
Voters in both states seem to be in general agreement on Perot, who was nominated last month to head the party he helped found and bankroll. In both polls, they were about six times as likely to say they had an unfavorable opinion of Perot as say their opinion was favorable.
Few voters - 4 percent in Washington and 6 percent in Idaho - said they currently plan to vote for him.
“He’s unpopular because he’s not viewed as credible,” Ali said. “He’s had a worse year than (House Speaker) Newt Gingrich.”
Perot has suffered a drastic turnaround from four years ago when he last ran for president and did well in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1992, he collected 27 percent of the Idaho vote - just 6,700 fewer votes than Clinton. In Washington that year, he collected 24 percent of the vote.
Perot hopes to be included in the upcoming presidential debates based on his 1992 showing. But Ali said his current standings in polls around the country are often as low as other third party candidates.
“If he’s included in the debates, everybody else should be too,” Ali said.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Sounding Washington, Idaho - The presidential race