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Spin Control

Poll has bad news for Trump, Bryant in Washington

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant makes his pitch to an estimated crowd of 1,000 at a rally at the Tacoma Convention Center on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant makes his pitch to an estimated crowd of 1,000 at a rally at the Tacoma Convention Center on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)

Hillary Clinton has a big lead over Donald Trump in a recent poll of Washington voters, and incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee has a comfortable but smaller lead over Republican challenger Bill Bryant.

While Washington voters as a whole trend Democratic -- it hasn't elected a Republican governor since 1980, or gone Republican in a presidential race since 1984 -- the latest version of The Elway Poll puts an exclamation on that for the top races in this fall's election.

In the survey of 500 registered voters, Clinton leads Trump by almost 20 points, 43 percent to 24 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson is at 7 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 4 percent. Some 16 percent of those surveyed were undecided and 6 percent said they might not vote for president this year.

Inslee, a Democrat finishing his first term, was at 48 percent with businessman and former port commissioner Bill Bryant at 36 percent. Again 16 percent said they were undecided.

Pollsters also tried to gauge the "down ballot" effect the two presidential candidates will have in November. Among those surveyed, Clinton voters were more likely to say they were enthusiastic about her than Trump voters were about him, although about 8 percent of each said they considered the candidate of their choice "the lesser of two evils."  

When asked whether the endorsement of Trump or Clinton by a candidate for state or local offices would affect their decision, an endorsement of Trump had much more greater downside.

While 17 percent of voters said a candidate's endorsement of Trump would make them more likely to vote for that candidate, 50 percent said it would make them more likely to vote against that candidate. That's a net loss of 33 percentage points. An endorsement of Clinton would make 26 percent of voters more likely to vote for a candidate and 33 percent more likely to vote against the candidate, for a net loss of 7 percentage points.

On Monday, Bryant broke months of silence on whether he'd support Trump and announced he would not be voting for his party's nominee, or for Clinton. A spokesman said Bryant came to the decision over the weekend, while attending a parade in his home town of Morton, Washington, and talking to family and supporters there.

Bryant has a cousin who died in Vietnam and was "grossly offended" by Trump's attacks on the Muslim family of a soldier killed in Iraq, Jason Roe, his communications director said.

"He didn't feel like he could be silent anymore," Roe said, adding Bryant regard's Trump's style as divisive and setting different groups against each other.

Bryant's pollster, Bob Moore, had advised him to avoid answering questions about Trump and instead focusing on issues in the governor's race, something the candidate had done for months. He even avoided mentioning Trump at the state Republican Convention this summer.

Asked if the decision to make the announcement was connected to the latest Elway results, Roe replied: "We didn't need a poll to know supporting Trump is a negative."

 



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