Posted by: sweeneyblog | July 24, 2014

NWCitizen Releases Poll Showing Ericksen Leading Fleetwood

First public poll of the 42nd LD

First public poll of the 42nd LD

In an effort to provide you, the readers, more insight into the political world around us, I have worked with Northwest Citizen to conduct (and pay for) a poll of likely voters.

We worked with Premiere Political to put a phone poll in the field and received 85 responses from likely voters. Although it is a small sample size, we feel confident enough in these results to share them with our readers.

For the purposes of transparancy, we will always include the exact wording of the question so that you can judge the results for yourself. We have asked about a whole range of local political issues and will be sharing those results with you over the next week.  For now, we will begin with the competitive race for State Senate in the 42nd Legislative District.

In our poll of likely voters, Sen. Doug Ericksen leads challenger Seth Fleetwood by almost 6%, however a closer look at favorability shows that Fleetwood may suffer from poor name recognition.

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Doug Ericksen?
43.8% favorable, 28.1% unfavorable, 24.7% unknown

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of Seth Fleetwood?
29.6% favorable, 25% unfavorable 40.6% unknown

In the race for state senate, will you be voting for Seth Fleetwood or Doug Ericksen?
31% Fleetwood, 36.8% Ericksen, 28.7% undecided

What does this mean for the 42nd race? In my view, it shows that Fleetwood has plenty of room to grow and this will be very close in November. If 28.7% of people have not decided they like Ericksen after 16 years of being represented by him, they will not suddenly decide to support him in November.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments below. In the coming week, we will be releasing the results covering the Cherry Point terminal and the 2015 Bellingham mayoral race. This will be the first in a series of polls being conducted this year by Northwest Citizen and myself, so if you wish to defray some of the cost, you can make a donation here.



  1. Riley,

    If the Democrat Party paid money for this poll they got taken! Not one question about job creation, educational funding, environmental protection, oil train safety or transportation.

    Ericksen can be beaten with a similar unified campaign that worked for the county council election. A new broom campaign to sweep away all the do nothing politicians from the district. A they take your tax money, but do nothing for you campaign!

    Also a major voting registration house to house, county fair, malls, farmers markets in Lynden, Blaine, as every small town library, etc.



    • The Democratic party did not pay for the poll, John Servais and I did. We asked about a whole slew of issues and will be releasing the results over the next week – like it says in the article.

    • Like Rush, apparently, you have mistakenly used a noun in the place of an adjective: it’s the Democratic Party. A democrat is democratic. A republican is republican (noun same as adjective) – so one can guess where the confusion comes from. I hope this helps you in future.

  2. I fear Mr. Fleetwood needs to step up his campaign game if he expects to beat the incumbent and a quick comparison of their Herald OpEd page introductions might tell you why.
    Doug’s Q&A format is campaign-slick and his dialog direct and specific,
    if not accurate or truthful, with details tailored for the short attention span of any reader who might wander in.
    I guess I’d encourage Seth to move beyond the personal resume’ style of campaign and into a solid litany of Ericksen’s missteps, obstructions and abuses and how his work in the legislature will be specifically different.
    Many of us will vote against Ericksen anyway no matter who’s opposing him but that won’t add up to a Fleetwood win unless he can be more persuasive.
    BTW, the Republicans have sent out at least two big shiny full-color anti-Fleetwood mailers complaining about his residency and back taxes
    and I wonder why there aren’t any anti-Ericksen fliers circulating to balance things out.

    • “I guess I’d encourage Seth to move beyond the personal resume’ style of campaign and into a solid litany of Ericksen’s missteps, obstructions and abuses and how his work in the legislature will be specifically different”-so you are advising Seth to wage a ‘dirty’ campaign as opposed to Doug’s “clean” campaign.

      What is wrong with being “direct and specific” as you stated? [Doug]
      Are you suggesting that Seth should dance on the head of a pin?

      “Many of us will vote against Ericksen anyway no matter who’s opposing him”-the typical Liberal Democrat “open mind”.

  3. By my math, Fleetwood and Ericksen are about 6 percentage points apart not 7 (5.8%). Also, what’s the margin of error? Given the small sample size, I suspect the race is statistically a toss-up with those numbers. -RS

    • I would agree with that assessment.

    • Quite right about the math – fixed that.

    • Wait until the Tom Steyer direct deposit hits Seth account and all the other PACS.

  4. It is a long way to November. The purpose of polls like this one is to get people thinking about the election well ahead of its actual date. The poll is more of a public service than an actual predictor/estimator.

    • Again, Walter, you make perfect sense. Let’s get people thinking about the election. Our Republic depends on an informed electorate.

    • Polls are a way of herding the sheep into the pen for fleecing.

  5. Riley:
    I did polling some years back. A sample size of 85 is pretty small — though, of course, it depends on the size of the population being sampled. Have you calculated the margin of error?
    And, importantly, have you matched the demographic characteristics of your sample against those of the population? If not, you might have a non-representative sample which would render the results useless.

    • The sample is representative, I looked at the demographic data and it matches. I wish we could have gotten a larger sample size but this is what we got so this is what we published

  6. I express this opinion to candidates every year…. Name recognition is what wins most elections…. Every year the RNC’s candidates have their large signs along I-5 starting way early, = Name recognition. Every year the Dem’s, Lib’s, etc. wait until late to get theirs up. The point being signs remind informed voters, and signs are all that uninformed voters know about candidates.

  7. I would call it good news, indeed. I’m not so concerned with the “n” if it was a good “n.” National samples are often based on n = 1000. If your n had been 100, I doubt you would be getting so much grief. The bottom line is how unbelievably close Seth is on the scale of “who would you vote for today” in spite of relative lack of name recognition, and he has over 3 months to go. As you say, Ericksen’s numbers won’t go up after 16 years. This is Seth’s race to lose. I’m stunned and ecstatic to see such numbers this far from election day. And, as someone mentioned, we’ll see how good the numbers are when we get the primary results. Thank you and John for doing this.

  8. I was head of Research for a Fortune 500 Company before heading my own Research firm for 13 years and have been involved in literally 1000s of surveys and polls. The turnout in 11/12 for the 42nd District averaged 58,200 for the Assembly races. If that were the population assumed, the margin of error would be 10.62% for a sample of 85, Now this is a primary and a non-Presidential year, so let’s assume that the population of likely voters drops all the way down to 20,000. In that case, the margin of error drops “all the way down” to 10.61% (Let’s call it 10.6%). That means that “If the election were held when the poll was taken”, you could be 95% certain that Doug would have received between 26.2% and 47.4% of the vote, Seth between 20.4% and 41.6% of the vote and Undecided between 18.1% and 39.3%.

    Hope this helps. The poll should give the backers of Fleetwood, Ericksen and Undecided all hope. All three are statistically in the race.

    It also illustrates why I–easy money shunner that I am–would turn away potential clients who wanted me to poll less than 500 where the plus or minus margin of error is 4.33%. Fortunately, there is a “popularity contest” primary between these two which will show the work each side has cut out for itself. I expect the race to be so close that reliable polling will be prohibitively expensive.

  9. […] all for now, I have another guest post going live Monday and more results from the NWCitizen Poll coming this […]

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