Washington voters are heading into the midterm elections with abortion rights, the economy and political polarization on their minds, according to a new Crosscut/Elway poll.

The Sept. 12-15 survey of 403 likely voters shows Democrats maintain a large advantage in the U.S. Congress and Legislature races.

But the numbers have tightened since a similar poll in July, with Republicans gaining ground as the fall campaign season heats up.

In the new poll, 38% of voters identified as Democrats, compared to 27% who said they were Republicans. That’s a slimmer margin than the July survey, when Democrats led this issue 40% to 22%. The Democratic advantage on this issue is also below average since the Obama administration, according to pollster Stuart Elway.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., leads GOP challenger Tiffany Smiley by 13 percentage points, 50% to 37%, with 12% undecided. That’s down from Murray’s 20-point lead in a July Elway poll.

Still, the Democrats have an intensity advantage when it comes to keeping the US House and Senate in Democratic hands. Of those polled, 49% said they wanted Democrats to keep control of Congress, including 39% who said it was “important”.

Another 41% said they would like Republicans to take at least one chamber of Congress, including 29% who called it “important” to do so.

“Racing has tightened, which is typical at this time of year as more voters begin to focus on the election,” pollster Stuart Elway wrote in an email. “The polls could change more in the last few weeks, but the Democrats still have a huge advantage.”

The Crosscut/Elway poll has a 5% margin of error at the 95% confidence level. This means that if the survey had been conducted 100 times, the results would be within 5 percentage points of the results reported here at least 95 times.

The latest survey comes as the turbulent economy and political news in Washington, D.C., continued to weigh on voters’ minds as major political parties make one last push ahead of the 8th general election voting period. november.

In addition to the Senate election, voters in Washington will vote for representatives, including in two congressional districts – the 8th, which includes eastern King County, and the 3rd in southwestern Washington – that could help determine the balance of the United States House. Voters are also weighing in on candidates for the State House and Senate, which will determine what happens to Democratic control in Olympia.

There is also a special election for a statewide position – secretary of state – which appears to be a draw.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs narrowly leads Julie Anderson, a nonpartisan candidate, according to the new poll. Hobbs, a Democrat appointed to the position last year to fill a vacancy, leads Anderson 31% to 29%. 40% of voters remain undecided.

As Democratic President Joe Biden’s polls have fallen this year and inflation – which has driven up the cost of gas, groceries and other necessities – has fluctuated, voters cited the economy as a major concern.

But the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling striking down federal abortion protections has spurred Democratic voters into an often difficult election cycle for the political party holding the White House. By the time the August primaries rolled around, Republican hopes of a “red wave” had faded. Although the general election may bring surprises, the August primary results showed the Democrats easily holding on to their legislative majorities in Olympia.

In the new poll, 58% of Washington voters said they disagreed with the court’s ruling on abortion. Meanwhile, 16 percent of those polled cited abortion as an important factor when choosing a candidate for parliament. While existing Washington laws make abortion legal in most situations, the legislature could change those laws if it gets the votes.

Economy, polarization

Still, abortion was not the most important factor among those polled, with 22% of voters citing the economy, gas prices or jobs as their top factor when choosing a lawmaker from the state. One such voter is Patricia Pearson, a retiree who lives in Elma, a rural community in Grays Harbor County. Pearson, 80, cited the cost of gas as the biggest issue for her.

“I have to drive 30 miles if I have to see my doctor or go to Walmart,” said Pearson, who has criticized the Biden administration for shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The new poll also documents the deepening effects of political polarization. Another 22% of voters said political party or ideology was the most important factor to them. When asked, some described their motivator with terms like “anti-Democrat” or “pro-Democrat” or “anti-Trump” or “not woke.”

“Party identification has always been a factor, but we’ve seen it grow in recent cycles,” Elway said. “Elections have become more partisan and more and more voters see party identity as their main deciding factor.”

Steve Barlow, a resident of Richland, a retired researcher, is one of them. He cites his main driver is voting against Republicans, he said, especially after their hands-off response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts of former President Donald Trump and some of his supporters. to overturn the 2020 election results and make things more difficult in others. States to vote.

“The whole thing of trying to nullify the election… getting in the way of people, trying to discourage voters they don’t want at the polls from voting,” Barlow, 72, said.

Trump is still a factor

The September poll also shows Trump maintaining support from a majority of GOP voters. When asked who they would support in the 2024 presidential election, 21% said they would support Trump, and another 15% said they would prefer another Republican candidate. Meanwhile, 26% would support Biden, while 20% would prefer to see a Democrat other than Biden.

“Which indicates that most Republicans are still Donald Trump supporters, although not quite the dominant majority as it might seem,” Elway added.

Voters expressed a range of opinions on four key recent decisions from the US Supreme Court, which now has a consistent conservative majority.

On the decision that overturned abortion protections, 58% of those polled said they disagreed with the court, including 46% who said they “strongly disagree”. This compares to 14% who said they agreed with the decision and 24% who said they “strongly agreed” with it.

A majority of those polled also disagreed with a court ruling restricting the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. The 53% who were against this decision included 37% who “strongly disagreed” with it.

At the same time, almost the majority of respondents – 49% – agreed with the court’s ruling that a Bremerton High School football coach could lead on-field prayers after games. This included 31% who “strongly agreed” with the decision. A further 39% disagreed with the court ruling, including 27% who “strongly disagree”.

The biggest split came with a decision related to the Second Amendment, where the court struck down a New York state requirement to prove a need for self-protection to obtain a concealed carry license for a weapon.

Of those surveyed, 46% agreed with the decision and 44% disagreed. This included 30% who “strongly agreed” and 30% who “strongly disagreed”.