Washington News
king5.com, October 18, 2012

KING 5 poll: Initiatives still ahead; AG race now a toss-up

By KING 5 News

Four ballot measures -- including gay marriage and marijuana legalization -- are leading among voters who are likely to cast ballots in the fall election, a new KING 5 poll shows.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said they plan to vote for R-74, the ballot referendum that would affirm the same-sex marriage law passed by the legislature early this year. Just 41 percent said they opposed, and 5 percent were undecided.

On marijuana legalization, 55 percent said they plan to vote for I-502, which would decriminalize and regulate marijuana use in the state. Thirty-six percent said they oppose it and 8 percent said they are undecided. (If passed, the Washington law still would be superseded by federal laws criminalizing marijuana.)

In the attorney general race, Democrat Bob Ferguson's once-commanding lead over Republican Reagan Dunn has evaporated since the last KING 5 survey. Ferguson now leads by 2 points, 40 percent to 38 percent, making the race a toss-up. A large group of respondents -- 23 percent -- said they remain undecided in the race.

Dunn made big gains across key demographic groups since the last KING 5 poll was released Oct. 1. Where Dunn trailed by 8 points among male voters, he now leads by 6 points. Among voters ages 50 and up, Dunn now leads by 10 points, after trailing Ferguson by 8 points at the beginning othe the month. In the more liberal western part of the state, Dunn's 6-point deficit is now a one-point lead.

Dunn's gains may have much to do with a TV ad run by a national Republican group that attacks Ferguson's lack of criminal experience. Though the state attorney general's office is involved mainly in civil litigation on behalf of the state and consumers, the pro-Dunn ad highlighted Ferguson's opposition to the death penalty. (See KING 5's Ad Watch segment on the ad.)

The same-sex marriage measure leads across almost every demographic group. The exceptions are voters ages 65 and over, who oppose R-74 54 percent to 45 percent, as well as voters living in Eastern Washington, where 57 percent said they oppose the referendum.

The other two ballot measures -- one legalizing up to 40 charter schools in the state and the other restating voters' support for a required two-thirds majority vote in the legislature on raising taxes --  both lead comfortably with 54 percent support, the poll found.

Just 39 percent of voters said they oppose the charter school initiative (I-1240), with 17 percent undecided. And only 22 percent opposed the tax measure (I-1185), with 23 percent undecided.

The findings of the KING 5 survey were largely echoed by the KCTS Washington Poll released Thursday.

The KING 5 poll was conducted by SurveyUSA between Oct. 12 and 14. A total of 543 likely voters were surveyed; the margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percent.

Compiled by KING 5's Russ Walker with assistance from Robert Mak and Michael Cate.

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