Mayor's Race 2017

KING 5 Poll: McGinn, Durkan Are Frontrunners for Seattle Mayor

Another poll puts Hasegawa in the top two. But a large chunk of voters are still undecided.

By Hayat Norimine June 21, 2017

KING 5 Wednesday morning released results from a KING 5/KUOW poll conducted by SurveyUSA—and the name recognition seems to be going a long way for former mayor Mike McGinn in the 21-candidate race to be Seattle's next mayor.

Of the voters surveyed, 19 percent said they'd vote for McGinn if the election were held today. Former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan followed closely behind with 14 percent, and KING 5 says they're "neck and neck" with the margin of error. And Durkan has raised nearly $257,000, according to the PDC. Granted, the poll only surveyed 503 most likely voters—of the 800 registered voters they interviewed—in the span of two weeks (June 6 to June 18).

Another survey released Wednesday The Seattle Times reported on, conducted by Wilson Strategic for Washington State Wire, got pretty different results: Durkan was the top choice for 30.1 percent of voters. The second spot in the primary is wide open, with state senator Bob Hasegawa leading. (He got 8.8 percent; McGinn got 6.3, and urban planner Cary Moon 4 percent.)

This poll was more recent—June 15 to June 18—but it only included land line calls, spent three days, and focused on consistent voters (those that voted in three of four primary and general elections in 2015 and 2013). That would exclude younger voters, people who moved to the city recently, as well as those who don't have land lines. (Isn't that like everyone these days? Apparently not.) Those factors would leave out a fair amount of renters, though that group is also less likely to vote

Comparing the results of both these polls actually says a lot:

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Durkan is likely to make it through the primary. As for the next candidate, it really will depend on who turns in their ballots.

There's no question that Nikkita Oliver, a social justice activist and attorney, attracts a large population that was excluded from Washington State Wire's poll, in which she only received 3.4 percent (the second-lowest among top-six candidates). In KING 5's report, she placed in third with 9 percent. 

Both polls consistently say there's a large chunk of undecided voters—28.4 percent in the Washington State Wire poll, 38 percent in the KING 5/KUOW poll. 

Here's what KING 5's report said: 

McGinn got the largest percentage of male voters (24 percent), while Durkan got the largest group of female voters (17 percent); McGinn also appealed to Republican or conservative voters, as well as Hispanic voters. Women were more likely to be undecided, according to the survey results. 

Oliver followed with 9 percent and drew more support from low-income, urban, and Asian voters. Hasegawa (who also attracts the Asian vote) received 8 percent; he's been endorsed by most Democratic legislative districts so far—including the 11th District Democrats yesterday—and received the sole endorsement of six unions. Former 46th District state representative Jessyn Farrell received 6 percent; Moon 3 percent; and the remaining candidates 1 percent. 

Again, a large percentage of voters are still undecided—so a lot can change in the coming weeks. Farrell, who resigned from the legislature on June 1, has been able to raise money for her campaign now. She's been endorsed by several Democratic state and local officials, 43rd District Democrats, as well as Teamsters Local 117—Hasegawa was a Teamsters leader before he became a legislator. That said, Hasegawa is still in a funding freeze, and garnered more support than her in the poll by 2 percent. (The 46th District Democrats, Farrell's home turf, notably also endorsed Hasegawa.) 

And then there's the mayor Ed Murray factor, who could hypothetically still use his leftover campaign funds to seek a write-in candidacy after his accuser dropped a sexual abuse lawsuit just last week; Delvonn Heckard's attorney said he still plans to file next year, and Murray's other accusers also stood by the claims, but Murray said the withdrawal vindicated him and showed the case was politically motivated.

Murray still has roughly $150,000 remaining from his 2017 reelection bid. Wayne Barnett, director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, said while he's not definitive, "I can't think of a good argument that he couldn't use that money." According to the Washington State Wire poll, 21.5 percent of respondents said they'd switch their vote if Murray were to reenter the race, pushing him through the primary; the poll didn't elaborate on whether that meant Durkan wouldn't make it past August. 

Updated June 21, 2017, at 9:51am: This post corrects that Hasegawa was not endorsed by all LD Democrats; the 43rd District Democrats endorsed Farrell. I apologize for the error. 

Updated June 21, 2017, at 11:55am: This post corrects that the poll includes just the most likely voters out of the 800 registered voters that were interviewed.

Updated June 21, 2017, at 2:42pm: This post is updated to include another poll released the same day. 

Updated June 21, 2017, at 6:06pm: This post corrects Hasegawa's sole union endorsements to six.

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