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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Lobbyists gave Inslee, Legislature poor grades in poll

OLYMPIA -- If lobbyists were passing out grades for the recent legislative session, most lawmakers might be worried about taking the report card home to mom and dad.

In a recent Elway Poll, some 280 lobbyists gave the session an overall grade of C-minus, with slightly better grades for subjects like transportation, higher education and public safety, but only a D-plus for K-12 education.

The overall grade of 1.78 on the 4.0 scale, is up slightly from 1.73 last year, pollster Stuart Elway said. Maybe it "reflected relief that the session is not still going on," he said, considering the second biggest accomplishment listed by those surveyed was "getting finished" while the biggest disappointment cited was "failure to act/duration."

Lobbyists were more critical of Gov. Jay Inslee than Republican or Democratic caucuses in either chamber. About two-thirds gave him either a D or an F, while only 13 percent gave him an A or B. Elway has conducted a similar poll at the end of each session since 2010 and Inslee's 1.11 GPA for the 2016 is the lowest of the scores given by lobbyists during his tenure.

But four of five lobbyists surveyed also said they expect Inslee to win re-election, with only 12 percent saying they think Republican Bill Bryant is likely to replace him.

Almost half of the lobbyists said they expect no change in the slight Republican majority that controls the Senate. Only one in five thought the House, where Democrats hold only a two-seat lead will stay the same, but about a third thought Democrats would increase their majority and a third thought Republicans would gain control.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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