Morning Fizz

New Poll: Voters Feel Good, Inslee in Solid Positon Heading into Election

Inslee up by double digits, plus part two of our Black Lives Matter Q&A.

By Josh Feit and Cassandra Calderon October 7, 2016

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1. A new KOMO/Strategies 360 poll shows that governor Jay Inslee is in pretty good shape heading into the election.

For starters, voters are in a fairly good mood.  On the standard "right direction" versus "wrong track" question, 56 percent of Washington voters like the way things are going versus 36 percent who don't. Additionally, the poll found that Inslee has a 51 to 31 favorable to unfavorable rating, which is about where it's been for a couple of months. The analogous numbers for his GOP opponent, former Seattle Port Commissioner Bill Bryant, are troubling for Bryant because they indicate no one knows who the heck he is; Bryant has a 23/12 favorable/unfavorable rating.

Meanwhile, when asked how they feel Inslee is doing on key issues, voters give the governor mostly solid ratings. Voters approve of the way Inslee is handling the economy 58 to 30. Similarly, on the environment, Inslee gets a 59/26 approval rating.

More people approve than disapprove of how Inslee is handling education. However, his approval rating is well below 50 on that score—he’s at 43 to 33.

Inslee’s Achilles' heel is clearly transportation. He’s underwater there with a 42 to 43 approve versus disapprove rating. The pollsters didn’t ask voters to say which of those issues were most important to them, though, so it’s difficult to gauge if Inslee’s poor showing on transportation undermines his overall positive showing.

It’s also a bit ironic that Inslee tanks on transportation. The $16 billion transportation package, which included a gas tax increase for roads and authorized Sound Transit to go to ballot this November with regional mass transit measure, is arguably the one major legislative achievement of his first term where he managed to hammer out a bipartisan compromise.

The bottom line on the poll: Inslee is beating Bryant 50 to 40.

2. Josh will be on KUOW's week in review show today at noon.

3. Here's the second part of our Q&A with the organizer of last Saturday's Black Lives Matter march. 

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Protest organizer "Mohawk," at right, speaks to the crowd at Westlake Park on Oct. 1 before Seattle's most recent Black Lives Matter demonstration. Roughly 500 individuals turned out for the march that lasted four hours and spanned SoDo and Capital Hill. 

Yesterday, the organizer of the march, who goes by the pseudonym "Mohawk," unpacked some of the subtleties within the local BLM movement. However, there's even more to it—and they come with quiet criticisms of his allies, including of the high profile Block the Bunker group and the local, official BLM chapter.
During the Q&A, he made it clear that, while Saturday's march synced up with the larger movement, both he and the demonstrations he's organized are separate from Seattle's official BLM chapter (a group co-founded by Marissa Johnson, the activist that famously interrupted a Bernie Sanders rally last year.) 
Mohawk, who's organized 30 demonstrations (including the high profile rallies at Westlake last year during the holiday shopping rush), said he feels Johnson hasn't organized many demonstrations since she co-founded the BLM chapter. That's why, he says, her organizes under the banner of his own group, the Black Liberation Front Seattle. 
But with such simpatico missions, why not just consolidate groups like BLM and Block the Bunker under the more widely known BLM brand? We circled back with Mohawk on these questions and here's what he had to say about the political distinctions.
What is the specific mission and message of the local group Black Liberation Front Seattle and how is that different or distinguishable from Black Lives Matter? 
[Black Liberation Front Seattle's] mission is to hold police accountable and end racism not just in everyday life but in housing, employment, the justice system, the transit system, the economy, and etc. In relation to police being held accountable, [BLFS] wants to make sure that they are held to a higher standard than the average person instead of the lower standard they are held to today.
 What is the necessity of Black Liberation Front Seattle as a separate group from BLM?
It's really interchangeable. BLM wants to end racism and hold police accountable but [BLFS] wants to end racism and hold police accountable on an international level, not just a national level like BLM. International change would be the end goal, but you work your way up. [BLFS] furthers the goals of BLM, saying we can do better. Racism and police accountability problems are not just a national issue but happen all over the world. They're national security issues and human rights issues. 
Have you been involved with the Block the Bunker movement? What is the Block the Bunker movement's relationship to BLM?
No, because the minute they get what they want the group will disappear. Block the Bunker's relationship to BLM is a very fine line. BTB is focused on a small part of the [issue], yet misses the bigger perspective of ending racism and holding police accountable. [BLM] is on the right path to ending racism and holding police accountable, but can they do that on an international level and sustain it for greater change?
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