Will Biden Carry Washington in a Blow Out?
A new survey finds the former Vice President leading Trump by more than 25 points in the coastal state
A recently released KING-TV / SurveyUSA poll of the 2020 presidential race among likely Washington state voters finds presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden crushing President Donald Trump by a 57 to 31 percent margin.
To be sure, the Evergreen State is in the ‘safe Democratic’ column heading into the 2020 election.
The once purple state has backed the Democratic nominee in eight consecutive elections – behind only Minnesota for the longest streak in the nation – with each of the last three contests decided by more than 14 points.
But imagining a 25+-point victory by Biden in Washington is difficult to do at first blush, even at this point in the state’s political history which has generally seen Democrats flourish in the state.
For starters, Democratic presidential nominees have carried Washington by more than 20 points in just three cycles since statehood:
- 1932: Franklin Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover by 23.5 points
- 1936: Roosevelt beat Alf Landon by 29.9 points
- 1964: Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater by 24.6 points
Each of those cycles, of course, resulted in landslide victories with Roosevelt winning 472 Electoral College votes (and all but six states) in 1932, Roosevelt receiving 523 votes in 1936 (and all but two states), and Johnson winning 486 votes in 1964 (and all but six states).
Even the rosiest of pictures painted by prognosticators for Biden show him receiving well below 400 Electoral College votes.
That said, Democrats have generally dominated statewide elections in Washington in recent decades and the state is trending in the party’s favor.
Washington currently owns the nation’s longest Democratic gubernatorial winning streak – victorious in all nine contests since 1984. [Oregon has the largest number at 10 in a row since 1986].
Governor Jay Inslee is well-situated to bring that tally to 10 straight victories in November.
Overall, Democrats have won 68 of 93 statewide elections in Washington since 1984 (73.1 percent).
That tally includes all nine races for auditor and governor during this span, eight of nine elections for treasurer and president, seven of nine for lieutenant governor and Insurance Commissioner, five of nine for attorney general and Commissioner of Public Lands, and 10 of 12 for U.S. Senator.
Democrats have only struggled in elections for secretary of state – losing all nine contests since 1984 and 15 in a row since 1964. [Republicans have endured a more futile losing streak – failing to win each of the last 22 races for state auditor since 1932].
Democrats also hold 70 percent of the state’s congressional districts (seven of 10) for the first time since the 103rd Congress when the party controlled eight of nine districts coming out of the 1992 election.
It should also be noted that the SurveyUSA matchup poll spelling disastrous news for Trump in Washington does resonate with some other recent polling there.
In the most recent Morning Consult tracking of Donald Trump’s approval rating from February, the president’s net approval rating was -27 points in Washington – lower than all but one state across the nation (Vermont at -39 points).
Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.
“…behind only MN for the longest streak…” The Evergreen State also trails the “other Washington” which, for the purpose of presidential elections (since 1964), is treated as a ‘State’.
Moreover, 5 other States have the same active streak as the Land of Microsoft & Starbucks.
“…rosiest of pictures…well below 400…” By my count, barring a split in the R coalition on the magnitude of 1912, the highest tally Biden could receive is 375 EC votes, if he is successful in drawing an ‘inside straight’ – carrying MI, FL, PA, OH, GA, NC, AZ, WI, IA, and the two votes from the NE-2 and ME-2 districts, in addition to all the venues that the Clinton-Kaine ticket won four years prior.
2. “…10 straight victories…” Additionally, Jay Robert Inslee is poised to become the first Democrat to win three elections for the post (Republican Arthur Bernard Langlie was the first when he won in 1940, 1948, and 1952).
While the DEMs do have the inside track at the statewide balloting, the two majors here have been more evenly matched than the cursory glance would seem to warrant. In 2004 the Ds, after a recount, won the closest gubernatorial election in the history of the NATION. Moreover, the surfeit of Democrats combined with the “top two forward” electoral mechanism have provided the Rs with a few opportunities, such as the 2016 election for Treasurer when three Democratic aspirants split the vote so closely that none managed to advance to the final balloting stage, even as they collectively garnered a majority of the vote. Also, while the party has 57 members in the state House of Representatives in the 98-member chamber it is far less lopsided than that enjoyed by the Republicans in neighbouring ID and certainly insufficient to override the veto of a (hypothetical) non-D governor.