Election 2012

New Polling: Gov's Race Tied, Gay Marriage and Charter Schools Ahead, and Support for New Taxes to Fund K–12

By Josh Feit October 22, 2012

A new poll shows a 46-46 tie in the gubernatorial race between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.

Consulting firm Strategies 360 released its finding this morning. The survey of 500 likely voters was conducted October 17-20, and it has a 4.4 percent margin of error.

The poll also had some data that's meaningful beyond November—with results on voters feelings about raising taxes to fund education.

In the other big statewide contests: R-74, the measure to legalize gay marriage,  is ahead 55-38;   I-1240, the charter schools measure, is ahead 51-34; and R-502, the measure to legalize marijuana is leading 54-38.

PubliCola hears other private polling doesn't show gay marriage with such a comfortable lead. We asked the R-74 campaign if their internal numbers showed something different.

Pro-R-74 spokesman Zach Zilk told us: "I won't comment on our internal polling, but we operate on the assumption this is going to be a very close election.  As the Washington Poll noted last week, polling on this issue is tricky.  Support is often artificially high because of social desirability bias."

(The poll also found that Obama was well ahead of Mitt Romney in Washington State, 52-39).

The poll also had some data that's meaningful beyond November—with results on voters' feelings about raising taxes to fund education; thanks to the Washington State Supreme Court ruling, the McCleary decision, legislators are tasked with fully funding K-12 education. That means they've got to find about $1.6 billion in new dollars above the $6 to $6.5 billion the state already spends per biennium.



According to the poll, they've got some options. Voters support enacting a capital gains tax to fund education 47 to 44, and they support a high-earners income tax (people making above $200,000) 54-41. Those polled did not, however, support increasing property taxes, sales taxes, or the B&O tax to pay for education.

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