Two weeks ago, a Crosscut/Elway poll showed signs of an apparent shift afoot. A growing number of Washingtonians identified as Republicans, indicating a different landscape for the midterm elections.
The poll revealed the number of respondents identifying as Republican jumped 10 percent since July of 2021, decreasing the margin with Democrats from 18 percent to just 7. A week later, a week later confirmed the shift on a national scale, with the margin reversing from a 9-point Democratic advantage at the start of 2021 to a Republican lead of 5 points in December.
This shift in party identification is evident in sliding approval ratings for President Biden and Governor Jay Inslee.
Washington has generally been a Democratic state for decades. The state hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1994 nor a Republican governor since 1980. Why the shift in loyalty now? According to state and national polls, the economy is our citizens’ most significant concern. The change of party loyalty is greater in Washington than in the country as a whole.
This fall, there will be elections in Washington state for 122 of its legislators in addition to 10 members of the U.S. House and one U.S. senator seat.
A shift in politics appears inevitable, but to what extent Washingtonians will have to wait until the last ballots are counted this fall.