If you're watching the national news you're probably convinced that Election 2014 is going be red tidal wave with the GOP taking control of the U.S. senate.
But here in iconoclastic Washington state, there are some recent signs that the mood is blue. We're hearing, first of all, that in some key swing districts like Seattle's east-side suburbs, for example, Democratic turnout is 53 percent higher than it is for the GOP so far (and much higher than it was last year matched against themselves).
And, if you're paying attention to the latest national news actually, you'll find that Democratic turnout is surprising nationwide too.
With no marquee race on the ballot this year, the gun control ballot measures are magnified and those—a pro-gun control measure and an anti-gun control measure—may be leading any trend that develops here. And guess what: I-594, the pro-universal background check measure (the one Democrats are voting for) is polling at 61 percent, while I-591, which would prevent increasing gun control standards, is at 41.7 percent.
In the Puget Sound, the pro-gun control measure is at 69.1 percent. This could help Matt Isenhower, the Democrat who's taking on Republican incumbent state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond) in this year's key race.
More important, the key races in Washington state this year—the battle for control of the state senate where the Democrats need to win two of five races—are mostly taking place in swing suburban turf in the Puget Sound. And in the Puget Sound, I-594 is polling even better at 69.1 percent. This could help Matt Isenhower, for example, the Democrat who's taking on Microsoft suburban Republican incumbent state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Redmond).
And did you catch that stat from the U.W. Washington Poll? Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has a solid approval rating at 53.8 "favorable" vs. 28.9 "unfavorable. Who knew? (Barack Obama has a 42.1 percent approval rating right now.)
And, by the way, if a U.S. Senate race was in play here, well: U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is at 53.8 percent "favorable" too. And U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is at 56.4 percent "favorable." Talk about Who Knew?!
In addition to the potential for gun control coattails, the "right direction" vs. "wrong track" numbers in Washington state are at 48.6 vs. 36.3, which helps Democrats because they're seen as the incumbent party.
A bit of bad news for the Democrats today, though, which could undo any Democratic Cinderella story. The current turnout numbers.
With four days to go before ballots are due, the secretary of state reports a 22 percent turnout so far after two weeks of voting. That rate is not on track to the 62 percent voter turnout the secretary of state has predicted, a high number that Democrats are counting on to erase the shellacking they took in the 31.2 percent low-turnout primary. Just one Democrat, Isenhower in the 45th, cracked the magical 45 percent number in the primary to make his challenge respectable. He got 46.25 percent in August.