Washington Voters Grow Further In Support of Gay Marriage, Marijuana, Background Checks

| Tom Jensen

Over the last couple elections voters in Washington legalized gay marriage and marijuana, and enacted background checks on all gun sales. Our newest poll in the state finds that all three of those new laws are even more popular now after being implemented than they were when voters first approved them.

In 2012 Washingtonians voted to approve gay marriage by 8 points. Now voters in the state say they support gay marriage by 20 points, 56/36. 78% of voters say that its being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with only 22% claiming gay marriage has affected them negatively. Also 65% of voters in the state think gay conversion therapy should be illegal to only 14% who think it should be allowed. Majorities of voters across party lines- 78/6 with Democrats, 63/14 with independents, and 51/27 with Republicans- think conversion therapy should not be allowed.

Also in 2012 Washingtonians voted to legalize marijuana usage by 12 points. Now voters in the state say they support marijuana being legal by 19 points, 56/37. 77% of voters say marijuana being legal has either had a positive impact on their life or no impact at all, with likewise only 22% claiming marijuana legalization has affected them negatively. 

Just last fall Washingtonians voted to legalize background checks on all gun sales by 18 points. Now voters in the state say they support background checks on all gun sales by 44 points, 68/24. 82% of voters in the state say extended background checks have either had a positive or no impact on their lives, while only 18% claim a negative impact. Even among gun owners 78% grant that extended background checks have had no adverse effect on their lives, and they support the policy 61/31.

Washington voters were on the leading edge of legalizing gay marriage, marijuana, and extended background checks. And since those policies went in effect the verdict has been no big deal, leading to their increasing popularity.

Jay Inslee and Patty Murray both start out in good shape for reelection. Inslee leads the prospective Republican opponents we tested against him by 5-13 points, while Murray leads the ones we tested against her by 5-14 points.

The strongest possible candidate for Republicans in either race would be former Attorney General Rob McKenna. He has a 36/30 favorability rating and would trail both Inslee (43/38) and Murray (46/41) by 5 points. Even though McKenna comes the closest, he still has a larger deficit against both Democrats than his 3 point margin of defeat in 2012.

Murray has a solid 47/39 approval rating and posts double digit advantages against all the Republicans in Washington’s Congressional delegation that we tested her against. She has a 10 point advantage over Jaime Herrera Beutler (47/37), an 11 point one over Dave Reichert (48/37), and a 13 point one over Cathy McMorris Rodgers (48/35). Reichert has the biggest statewide profile with 53% name recognition, followed by McMorris Rodgers at 40%, and Herrera Beutler at 31%.

Inslee similarly posts double digit leads over all non-McKenna prospective foes. He’s up 45/34 on Reichert, 12 points on Bill Bryant at 46/34, and 14 points over Andy Hill at 45/31. Hill (18%) and Bryant (17%) both have almost no statewide name recognition.

It’s early but Inslee and Murray look like clear favorites for reelection at this point. 

Full results here

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