R-71 ahead, poll shows

I-1033: Measure limiting taxes trailing

October 28, 2009 

The yearly Washington Poll shows the statewide Referendum 71 for gay couples’ rights passing one week before the Nov. 3 election, while Tim Eyman's tax-limiting Initiative 1033 is trailing.

The poll was conducted by a social research school at the University of Washington that has a track record of correctly forecasting election results. Its poll shows:

 • R-71 is winning by a 56 percent to 39 percent margin among registered voters. The edge was 57-38 among likely voters; likely voters were those who have sent in ballots already or said they voted in November 2007.

 • I-1033 is losing by 46 percent to 41 percent, with 13 percent undecided, among registered voters. Likely voters said they intend to vote against it by a 49 percent to 40 percent margin.

Referendum 71 asks voters to endorse or reject Senate Bill 5688, which state lawmakers approved and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law as the third installment of expanded rights for registered domestic partners. It would provide all remaining state-level rights of marriage to registered partners, including same-sex couples and heterosexual couples in which one partner is 62 or older.

I-1033 limits yearly general-fund revenue growth for state, city and county governments to factors of inflation and population growth. Sponsor Tim Eyman says it diverts any excess revenues in a jurisdiction to lower property taxes.

Social conservatives opposed to R-71 have been outspent by supporters who are backed by some of the state’s largest businesses; similarly, government employee unions and other groups opposed to I-1033 have outspent Eyman and his backers fivefold.

Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the UW and co-director of the school’s Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race & Sexuality, said the R-71 poll is consistent with the trend of growing public support for same-sex relationships he has found in other polling since 2006. Barreto predicted a “large victory” for R-71.

In the poll, 724 registered voters were interviewed Oct. 14-26. The poll had an error margin of plus or minus 3.6 percent. The interviews were done in person-to-person calls, and nearly 25 percent of those polled had already turned in ballots, Barreto said.

Also in the UW poll:

 • Businessman Joe Mallahan is beating environmentalist Mike McGinn in the Seattle mayoral race by 39 percent to 32 percent among registered voters. But 28 percent were undecided.

 • Dow Constantine, a Democrat and King County Council member, is beating presumed Republican and former television news anchor Susan Hutchison by 45 percent to 32 percent. Twenty-two percent were undecided, and other polling shows Hutchison winning.

The UW findings on I-1033 conflict with previous surveys by other pollsters, some showing I-1033 winning by as much as a 2-to-1 margin.

Brad Shannon: 360-753-1688



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