Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« This Freaked Me Out | Polls, Polls, Polls »

Monday, November 3, 2008

And Now for Some Election News

posted by on November 3 at 10:41 AM

The 2009 election, that is!

According to a poll conducted by Constituent Dynamics, Mayor Greg Nickels is in trouble. In a survey of more than 1,000 Seattle voters, just 26 percent said they would vote for Nickels for reelection; 53 percent said they would vote for another candidate. Among perfect voters—those who’ve voted in all four of the last four elections—those numbers were even worse for Nickels: just 22 percent said they would vote to give the mayor a third term, and 57 percent said they would vote for another candidate. Perfect voters may be a better predictor of actual voter behavior in next year’s election, because they tend to vote in lower-turnout off-year elections like next year’s. Asked about Nickels’s job performance, 31 percent of those voters said they approved, and 57 percent disapproved.

The pollsters also asked voters who among several possible candidates they’d vote for against Nickels. The strongest possible contender among those included in the survey was Peter Steinbrueck, who scored 39 percent of all voters and an impressive 44 percent of perfect voters against Nickels’s 26 percent of all voters and 27 percent of perfect voters. Nick Licata also beat Nickels in a hypothetical election, with 35 percent of all voters and 44 percent of perfect voters to Nickels’s 28 percent of all voters and 25 percent of perfect voters. Older voters—again, more likely to vote in off-year elections—tended to favor both Steinbrueck and Licata over Nickels, and to have stronger negative opinions about Nickels’s job performance. (Other candidates included in the survey included Richard Conlin, Sally Clark, and Mark Sidran, none of whom beat Nickels in a hypothetical election.) Interestingly, voters in Nickels’s own 34th Legislative District had the strongest negative opinion of him, with a whopping 67 percent disapproving of his performance and 59 saying they would vote for another candidate.

What does all this mean? For one thing, it means it would be a good time for a credible candidate like Steinbrueck to declare his intent to run against Nickels. Nickels’s strength has always been that people are afraid to run against him and take on the “Nickels Machine.” The fact that people are looking for an alternative to that machine—even saying, in effect, “anyone but Nickels”—is an opportunity that an ambitious politician would be wise to grab.

RSS icon Comments


I will vote for anybody but Nickels.

Posted by elswinger | November 3, 2008 10:46 AM

Steinbrueck better get on it and start raising money.

Posted by Frank | November 3, 2008 10:54 AM

I know I won't vote for Nickels again (I did the first time since I HATED Sidran).

And BTW Peter is really pretty damn cute!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | November 3, 2008 10:59 AM

And he still hasn't endorsed Gregoire.

Posted by Brian | November 3, 2008 11:00 AM

i thought Steinbrueck was doing consultant gigs for the mayor? thats one way to keep him from running.

i like peter, but i dont think he can win. itd be nice to get an exciting candidate to run against nickles and company.

Posted by SeMe | November 3, 2008 11:02 AM

*high fives all around* hell yeah, I can't wait to send Mayor McCheese packing. One way ticket on the first SLUT "out of town?" It'll drop him off right next to his Vulcan pals.

Posted by Westlake, son! | November 3, 2008 11:02 AM

Nickels, Gregoire, and Sims may all be out of office this time next year.

Posted by wing-nut | November 3, 2008 11:18 AM

I nominate Dominic Holden!

Posted by egnever | November 3, 2008 11:24 AM

Someone, please step up. And we need some decent candidates for Council!

Posted by SP | November 3, 2008 11:40 AM

It can't have helped Sound Transit's chances this year that Nickels was the board chair and "face" of ST2.

Posted by just thinkin' out loud | November 3, 2008 11:43 AM

Nickels has a good chance of winning a third term simply no one in this town seems capable of getting a viable opponent in the race. Last Mayoral election it was (UW professor) Al Runte. As silly as he was as a candidate he still got like one third of the vote.

Given how many people profess to be agitated with Nickels - such as all the neighborhood nimbys, the low income, homeless & affordable housing activists, the nightlife crowd, etc. - they all seem incapable of understanding how to do practical things like identify and recruit potentially viable political candidates and to organize and launch a successful political campaign.

We need only look at the amazing arc of Barack's campaign to see how its done. It's not that his campaign invented something new. No, it's that he bothered to use tried and true principles and strategies that have essentially always been available. Yes Barack is gifted speaker, but he also really based his campaign on all of us together with him and he displayed integrity, smart messages, and really listened to what's going on with people. He didn't just decide one day that he should be president. I think probably that he is as surprised as anyone at where he's at.

I've seen first hand how the local Dems are capable of organizing an amazing grassroots campaign (no doubt with some help from Barack's people). If the local Dems wanted a different mayor, they could probably do it. I must conclude they are happy enough with Nickels, which means the 60% of average joes and janes in seattle who don't want Nickels again are going to have to go on a diet from the pervasive Seattle past time of whining long enough to learn how to put a viable opponent on the ballot.

It's not enough to have a majority who will vote against someone, you also have to give'em someone they can vote for, and preferably someone who will actually be good for Seattle.

While Steinbrueck certainly has enough name recognition, etc., to win, I'm not convinced he'd be a really great choice for Mayor. Just because someone has enough name recognition, etc., to win doesn't mean they would actually be good to elect - look at Godden or Compton - they may not be as bad as Nickels but they don't do much other than take up space. Licata I think could possibly be agreat Mayor, if he decided he really wanted to.

Posted by I am your Mother | November 3, 2008 11:46 AM

I'm gonna go with the Hamburgler for Mayor.

Posted by michael strangeways | November 3, 2008 11:49 AM

Why don't we have any women mayors around here?


Seriously ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 3, 2008 12:01 PM

No way I'm voting for Nickels next time around.

I could easily see myself voting for Steinbrueck if he decides to run.

Posted by Hernandez | November 3, 2008 12:03 PM

Big puff piece on Steinbrueck in the P-I this morning -- he's talking about NATIONAL office. But his haircut is going to disqualify him for anything.

Posted by Fnarf | November 3, 2008 12:05 PM

i wonder if he is waiting for mcdermont to retire.

Posted by SeMe | November 3, 2008 12:21 PM

Everyone wants McDermott's seat, but we need Steinbrueck for Mayor. C'mon Peter, we know you're reading this. Run!

Posted by Frank | November 3, 2008 12:22 PM

Anyone but Nickels.

Posted by Vince | November 3, 2008 12:54 PM

Hamburglar '09!

Posted by Greg | November 3, 2008 1:04 PM

Good point on the haircut, Fnarf.

What's up with that, Peter? Seriously, it's distracting.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 3, 2008 2:15 PM

Wht doesn't Dan run? Even if it's just for shits & giggles I bet he would get at least 20% of the vote and even could win.

Posted by elswinger | November 3, 2008 3:08 PM

Add Your Comments

Please click Post only once.