GOP Senate Candidate Catches Up to 30-Year Leftist Incumbent As Red Wave Looms on the Horizon
The “red wave” is moving fast enough that it’s being noticed even in deep-blue Washington state.
According to a poll released last week, Republican Senate nominee Tiffany Smiley has caught up with Democrat Sen. Patty Murray — and is now tied with the 30-year veteran of the upper chamber at 46 percent.
The same poll, by Moore Information Group, had Murray enjoying a 4-point advantage in September.
The survey, which was conducted Thursday-Saturday, polled 500 likely voters in live phone and online interviews. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.
How Patty Murray/ Tiffany Smiley are feeling about the polls summed up in one picture pic.twitter.com/quSM54s4Jj
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) October 31, 2022
There are two reasons Murray is in trouble, according to MIG’s Erik Iverson.
First, he wrote, “Patty Murray’s image is now underwater.”
“Murray’s net favorability is now minus three percent (45 percent favorable to 48 percent unfavorable) compared to minus one percent in September (44 percent favorable to /45 percent unfavorable), while Smiley maintains a positive image as she builds her awareness among voters,” Iverson said in a news release.
Second: “Undecided voters look gettable for Smiley. Roughly eight percent of Washington State voters are undecided in the race for U.S. Senate, but they do not look friendly toward the incumbent, as they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, President Joe Biden and Murray,” he wrote.
“The top issues for undecided voters are crime (18 percent) and controlling government spending and taxes (16 percent) and a full 80 percent say the country is off on the ‘wrong track,'” Iverson said. “Additionally, in terms of image ratings, undecided voters have a dim view of Murray (18 percent favorable to 47 percent unfavorable) and by a two-to-one margin they disapprove of Biden’s job performance (30 percent approve to 60 percent disapprove).
“Undecided voters tend to vote against the incumbent and this group appears likely to break against Murray.”
The poll mirrors other surveys showing the race in the normally deep-blue state tightening.
According to RealClearPolitics’ aggregate of polling data, some polls had Murray up by as many as 20 points as late as July, when the race seemed to be a foregone conclusion. As of Sept. 1, Murray was up by an average of 13.7 percent.
She’s now only up by an average by 5 percentage points — and more recent polls have shown the race is particularly tight.
An Oct. 25-28 poll from the Trafalgar Group, for instance, had Murray only up by 1 point with a margin of error of 2.9 percent — a statistical tie.
“In wave election years, the national political environment is often the key to flipping Senate seats and right now, the Washington Senate race has become ground zero for a wave election upset,” Iverson wrote.
Granted, Washington isn’t the most likely place that the Republicans are going to pick up a seat. That being said, by keeping it close, the GOP has already won in a way.
On Wednesday, Politico reported that Democrats were shifting resources to Washington to stop Murray from losing, buying millions in TV ads to counter Smiley’s message, which has been focused on quality-of-life issues.
“It doesn’t surprise me that this race has tightened,” said Alex Glass, a Washington state-based Democrat strategist, noting voters hadn’t paid attention to the race until the homestretch.
“But in a liberal stronghold like Washington — a state President Joe Biden won by nearly 20 percentage points — Glass and other Democratic operatives say they think voters’ feelings about abortion rights and wanting action on climate change will ultimately outweigh dissatisfaction with the economy,” Politico reported.
“Democrats just can’t slack off in the meantime, they say.”
Perhaps they will — those are big issues among the Seattle set — but the point remains that Democrats are having to pour money into a race that, for all intents and purposes, was supposed to be over before it began.
When Democrat incumbents in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada are much more vulnerable — and with the last chance for the left to flip a seat diminishing after John Fetterman’s disastrous debate performance in Pennsylvania — those are finite resources that shouldn’t be going to prop up Patty Murray.
Perhaps the 30-year incumbent won’t be swept aside by a growing red wave. By even just having a close call, however, she’s enabling it.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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