We asked about a bunch of stuff on our Washington poll besides this year's Senate race and we'll have some of it today and some of it tomorrow:
-Views on the ballot question implementing an income tax couldn't be more divided. 41% of voters say they'll support it and 41% say they'll oppose it. There's a very strong partisan divide on the issue with 67% of Democrats supportive and 60% of Republican opposed. Independents split against it by a 33/51 margin as well. My experience with most ballot initiatives is that few voters really understand them at this point in the game so with 18% undecided and a whole lot of money left to be spent this could change a lot between now and November. But it looks like it'll be competitive.
-In a very early look at the 2012 race for Governor in the state we find Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna leading Democratic Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown 47-29. As someone who's run statewide McKenna is relatively well known and relatively well liked. His 36/20 favorability spread is better than what we're seeing for almost every candidate running for Senate or Governor across the country this year. Brown, as is the case for most legislators even in leadership positions, is not known at all. 81% of voters don't know enough about her to have formed an opinion. Obviously the relevance of these kinds of hypothetical match ups at this stage is debatable- and it's highly doubtful Brown would really lose by 18 points after becoming better known- but it's clear that McKenna would start out as a pretty strong candidate.
-Voters may like McKenna personally but they don't think much of his efforts to repeal the health care bill. 45% say they oppose his lawsuit while 43% are in favor. The opposition to the lawsuit comes despite the fact that Washington voters are against the bill itself as well by a 47/45 margin. There's a small group of voters that opposes both the health care law and its repeal because they just want that issue in the rear view mirror.
-One reason the 2012 Governor's race may be looking good for Republicans at this early stage in the unpopularity of sitting Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire. Only 39% of voters in the state think she's doing a good job while 52% disapprove. We've seen over and over this cycle that for the most part voters aren't going to replace a Governor they don't like with someone else of the same party. Republicans dislike Gregoire (89%) a lot more than Democrats like her (74%), and independents disapprove of her by a 58/32 margin as well. Of course she has 27 months to rehabilitate her numbers.
-Finally, I commented several weeks ago that a couple Obama cabinet members- Janet Napolitano and Tom Vilsack- weren't seeing their poll numbers on the home front hold up too well. That's not proving to be the case with former Governor Gary Locke- 49% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 30% with an unfavorable one and that's pretty darn good these days.
Full results here