A new University of Washington poll shows the Referendum 67 insurance-rights measure passing by a large margin, while Tim Eyman’s proposal to limit the taxing powers of state lawmakers is squeaking toward passage.
The poll also carried good news for backers of two constitutional amendments – one that would lock up some state revenues in a hard-to-tap “rainy day fund,” and another to let property-tax levies for local-school operations pass on simple, 50-percent majority votes. Both are ahead.
But a proposal to raise some $18 billion for transportation and transit projects in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties is trailing, 43 percent to 46 percent. That proposal would raise sales taxes and car tab fees in the region.
The poll findings:
• Referendum 67, giving consumers rights to sue insurers for triple damages for unreasonable denials of claims: 48 percent yes, 31 percent no (with 35 percent “certain” yes voters and 22 percent “certain” no voters).
• Initiative 960, requiring supermajority votes for legislative tax increases and advisory votes on tax increases approved with emergency clauses: 41 percent yes, 40 percent no (30 percent to 28 percent among “certain” voters).
• Constitutional amendment 8206, setting aside 1 percent of state revenues in a rainy day fund: 61 percent yes, 17 percent no.
• Constitutional amendment 4204, allowing levies to pass on simple majority votes: 59 percent yes, 31 percent no (52 percent to 27 percent among “certain” voters).
• Prop. 1, for transportation in Puget Sound: 43 percent yes, 46 percent no (30 percent to 36 percent among “certain” voters).
“We are very comfortable with the methodology,” poll co-author Matt Barreto said Monday in a telephone interview, noting that the Washington Poll accurately predicted U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell’s victory last fall as well as the fate of every initiative on the state ballot.
“It was very accurate last year. We’re using the same sampling technique using voter rolls and live telephone calls.
“The firm we’re using, Pacific Market Research in Renton, has a very strong reputation in academic circles.”
The poll is a project of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race inside the UW’s school of social sciences. The UW programs and researchers at Western Washington University contribute its funds.
It polled 601 voters Oct. 22-28 and had an error margin of 4 percent, plus or minus, according to study co-authors, political science professors Gary Segura and Barreto.
Dana Childers, spokeswoman for the insurer-backed Reject 67 campaign, said earlier in the day that she expected the UW Poll would “show it’s a tight race and there are a lot of undecided voters out there. Internal polling says our message is getting out there with voters. I think it’s the cost issue that is of most concern to people,” she added.
The UW Poll results for Referendum 67 were at odds with other poll findings, including a poll released jointly Monday by KING-5 television and SurveyUSA.
The KING-5 poll had voters split evenly on 67 – with 40 percent leaning yes, 40 percent leaning no and 20 percent uncertain (those certain on the issue also split, 35 percent yes to 35 percent no).
Barreto said SurveyUSA uses automated calls for its polls, which he blamed for the variation in results.