If you haven’t heard or noticed, a red wave is currently crashing across the whole of the United States of America. While it’s no surprise that the Republican Party could win over some states, others are far more unlikely. And yet, all across the nation, we are seeing just that happen.
For example, in New York, GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin is quickly catching up to Democrat incumbent Kathy Hochul.
Even more surprising is what is happening in Washington. As you probably know, Washington state is about as blue as you can get. I mean, this state went to Joe Biden in 2020 by a margin of over 20 points.
And yet, it is in this deep-blue and quite liberal state a GOP candidate is officially tied with a 30-year Democrat incumbent for the Senate.
When Republican candidate Tiffany Smiley won the GOP senate nomination earlier in the year, no one really expected her to go anywhere. Maybe she’d have a shot if she ran in a battleground state like Georgia or Arizona. But according to nearly everyone, she’d never get it done in Washington.
Slowly, she gained traction, though. In September, Moore Information Group noted that she was only four points behind incumbent Democrat Patty Murray, a longtime favorite in the state. However, in another poll released last week by the same group, Smiley is not evenly tied with Murray at 46 percent.
The poll was taken Thursday through Saturday, asking 500 likely voters for their opinion on the two candidates in live phone and online interviews. There is a margin of error of about plus or minus 4 percent.
According to MIG’s Erick Iverson, there are two major reasons why Murray has lost so much to Smiley as of late.
Firstly, he notes that Murray’s “image is now underwater.” He explained this by saying that back in September, polls showed about 44 percent of Washington citizens approved of the job Murray was doing, compared to 45 percent who didn’t. But now, 45 percent approve and 48 percent do not, leaving her with a net favorability of minus three percent.
Meanwhile, her opponent, Smiley, has maintained a “positive image” and, as such, has grown in popularity. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s been focusing and campaigning on quality-of-life issues that voters find important for this election season.
Democrats like Murray would love to tell you that things like abortion and climate change are what voters really care about these days. And in liberal downtown Seattle, those issues certainly can’t be ignored.
However, polls show that even in deep blue Washington, people still care about things like rising crime, increasing inflation and taxes, and of course, the direction our nation is headed.
And that leads us to reason two why Smiley is gaining so much on Murray.
As Iverson points out, poll after poll in the Evergreen State shows that undecided voters, of which there are many (eight percent of voters in Washington are undecided), aren’t focused on Democratic talking points anymore. Instead, the top issues 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.'”
And so this means that the talking points put out by someone like Murray, who has clearly been in the Senate long enough to make a positive difference, are falling on deaf ears and making her not so favored anymore. According to polls, some 47 percent of undecided voters view her unfavorably compared to a mere 18 percent who do prefer her.
Similarly, the favorability of Joe Biden had dropped considerably. In fact, twice as many undecided voters view him unfavorably compared to those that do (60 disapprove and 30 percent approve).
And seeing as people like Biden and Murray have had a shot at making the US and Washington better and yet haven’t, undecided voters are finding it harder to give them a second chance.
As Iverson and numerous other polls show, undecided voters are much more likely at this point to bring in someone new, even if that person is for a different party.
In any case, even if Smiley doesn’t end up beating Murray, she should surely consider such a close call in such a blue state a win.